Three Ways Construction Workers Should Handle the Summer Sun
July 01, 2022
To put it simply: The sun doesn’t mess around.
The sun makes a major impact here on Earth — and you’ll feel it when you work outdoors. Spending your workday outside can be one of the best parts of working in the skilled trades, but it also requires some preparation, so you don’t get burned or suffer heat exhaustion.
July is National UV Safety Awareness Month, so it is important to discuss how to stay safe outside when you’re working in the heat. Here are three key ways that skilled tradespeople should protect themselves during the summertime.
Step 1: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Do you ever cool off by standing next to a mister on a hot day? That’s exactly how your body cools you off through sweat. If you don’t drink enough water when you’re out in the hot sun, then you won’t sweat enough preventing your body from being able to cool its temperature
When working in the heat, the CDC recommends that you drink about one cup of water every 15-20 minutes and try to drink this amount gradually to make sure your body always has the water it needs.
Step 2: Apply — and reapply — sunscreen
Sunscreen is an essential step and it is important to know that according to John Hopkins Medicine, most sunscreens last for two hours, so you’ll want to reapply it at these intervals to keep your skin from burning. When buying sunscreen, look for ones that are water-resistant — you aren’t swimming, but you are sweating, so water-resistant sunscreens will be a major help. Go with sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher.
Step 3: Wear the right clothing
When protecting your skin from UV rays, certain clothes work better than others. A good option is long-sleeved shirts and pants made from closely-knit materials in darker colors. While this may seem uncomfortable, some clothes are labeled with an “ultraviolet protection factor,” or UPF, often made from lightweight fabrics. For reference, a thin white cotton t-shirt, by contrast, only has a UPF of about 5, so John Hopkins recommends a UPF of 60 or higher.
Wide-brimmed hats and tinted glasses are also really helpful for sun protection
A safe and successful summer
The skilled trades require a sharp mind and senses, so pay attention to how the sun impacts your alertness. When your mind feels foggy, take a break and review these three methods. By drinking lots of water, applying sunscreen, and wearing protective clothing, construction workers put themselves in the best position to survive the summer heat. Here’s to having a safe and successful summer!
The Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation‘s Construction Workforce Initiative, Build Your Future Arizona‘s mission is to create a sustainable and skilled craft workforce by creating awareness about high-paying construction careers, training opportunities and mapping career paths to employment in these high-demand occupations.