Extreme heat is something that can lead to fatigue and bad decision making, however; it can be far more dangerous than that. It is an issue roofers are exposed to frequently. Sufficient training on proper rest, hydration, warning signs, and ways to avoid heat stress are vital in the roofing industry.
Common signs and symptoms of heat stress:
- Excessive sweating
- Dark colored urine
- Red or flushed skin
- Dizziness or fainting
- Muscle cramping
- Nausea or vomiting
Ways to plan and avoid heat stress or heat related illnesses:
- Plan times ahead of each day to take regular breaks in the air conditioning or shaded areas (preferably with fans)
- Drink decaffeinated drinks as well as the proper amount of drinks with added electrolytes
- Have water readily available and drink throughout the day; do not wait until you are thirsty
- Wear light colored clothing to reflect heat as well as light hats with bigger brims
- Wet clothing and wear wet towels or cooling bands or clothing to stay cool
- If possible, work early shifts to avoid hottest part of the day
Stay alert of weather predictions and plan accordingly. Come to work prepared to offset the heat with the tips above. Special attention should be paid to new employees that are not acclimated to extreme heat. In addition, be aware of and avoid activities that could affect your work after hours such as alcohol and caffeine consumption.