In the Know

Hawthorne Cat’s Summer Safety Tips 2019

Summer is often the busiest time of the year in the construction industry. Longer days mean more hours to develop projects in the field and more jobs to work through. This also leads to more time in the sun, heat, and humidity for your team and machinery, creating potential health and maintenance risks. Here are a few summer safety tips from Hawthorne Cat to keep your most valuable assets safe from the summer sun:

Heat Illness

Heat-related illnesses present a very real danger to you and your crew, and if left untreated, can result in severe health complications or even death. Let your team know you take this seriously and no one should try to “tough it out” if they experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Heat Cramps - excessive sweating, fatigue, thirst, and cramps in the stomach, arms, or legs.
  • Heat Exhaustion - fatigue, disorientation, nausea, headache, rapid heart rate, and moist, clammy skin. These can quickly escalate if ignored or untreated.
  • Heat Stroke - elevated body temperature, loss of consciousness, convulstions, vomiting, and diarrhea. Heat strokes are the most dangerous heat-related illness.

Recognizing Heat Illness and Treatment

It’s important to train your team to be on the lookout for signs of heat-illnesses among themselves and others. Often times, people don’t recognize what is happening to their bodies, so it is important to watch for anyone exhibiting symptoms, alert a supervisor, and call 911 if necessary.

Any affected individuals should be moved to a shaded or air-conditioned area immediately. Lay them down with their feet propped up, remove any tight or heavy clothing, and give them plenty of water to drink. A fan or mist spray is also helpful to cool down body temperature.

How to Prevent It

The three most important ways to prevent heat-illness are water, rest, and shade. Keep plenty on hand at your sites and encourage your team to drink 8 ounces of water each hour to stay hydrated and keep cool. Also, schedule mandatory breaks throughout the day under provided awnings, tents, and umbrellas.

Other tips include:

  • Eating light meals (no heavy, greasy food) during the hottest parts of the day
  • Wearing light-weight, light-colored, moisture-wicking clothes as well as sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Refrain from going in and out of air-conditioning, which can put more stress on the body
  • Be mindful of your body and alert another team member if you need to take a break

Don’t Forget Your Machines

Keeping your entire team safe should always be your top priority, but heat can also affect your fleet. Rising temperatures can make machines work harder, stress components, and accelerate wear. Take these steps to best protect your fleet against the heat:

  • Explore our range of cooling package options before you begin your next big project
  • Stay diligent in your daily inspections by continually checking your hydraulic fluid, engine oil and coolant levels as well as your radiator caps, seal pressure, hoses, air conditioning, and tire pressure
  • Clear debris from the radiators, cooling systems, and engine hood inlets/outlets each day
  • Shift smoothly, accelerate steadily, turn gradually, travel at a controlled speed, and avoid spinning the wheels when operating your machines
  • Keep a close eye on your temperature and pressures gauges – telematics are an excellent tool for monitoring equipment and planning maintenance before failure
  • Store machines out of the sun after use

Stay Cool. Stay Safe.

Staying safe in the summer sun is all about awareness. Schedule a summer training session before you begin your next large projects to keep your team aware of the dangers and treatment options available if someone begins to show symptoms. Using these day-to-day safety tips will keep your whole team healthy for another great work season.

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