Working on a construction site presents many dangers. Aside from possible work injuries, there are also internal bodily risks that come with the job. Construction workers work year-round in all types of weather. No matter how warm it may be, workers are still required to layer up and wear proper safety equipment. This can lead to dehydration and heat exhaustion. To prevent these internal bodily injuries, follow these tips for staying hydrated on a construction site.
Signs and Symptoms
Before going over suggestions to stay hydrated on the job, it’s important to first take note of the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and dehydration. This will ensure you’re prepared to spot any concerns in yourself as well as your coworkers.
Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
- Cool and damp skin with risen goosebumps
- Heavy sweating
- Muscle cramps
- Headaches and nausea
- Low blood pressure when standing suddenly
- Weak and rapid pulse
Signs and symptoms of dehydration include:
- Extreme thirst
- Dry mouth
- Less sweating and urinating than normal
- Dark-colored urine
- Dry skin
Now that you know what to look out for in terms of dehydration and heat exhaustion, you should also take the time to understand how your body reacts to working in hot temperatures.
The Body and Heat
The human body works to maintain an internal body temperature, no matter what the temperature is outside. In order to preserve this temperature, the human body sweats to cool down. When you’re not drinking enough water, however, your body’s ability to sweat begins to decrease. Your clothing can also compromise the possibility of sweating to cool off the body. Working in construction, your body’s ability to sweat and cool off becomes tougher, due to the clothes forming a barrier between your body’s sweat and its evaporation.
After a few hours of working in hot conditions with little to no water intake, your body will begin to feel the first stages of heat exhaustion and dehydration. After another hour or two with the continued avoidance of water, your body will begin to lose strength, focus, and energy. It’s even possible to collapse or lose consciousness if you avoid water for too long.
The human body requires water and other fluids to help it maintain its internal temperature and its muscle functions. Now that you understand how heat affects the human body, take the following precautions to help you stay hydrated on the job.
Make Checking the Weather a Routine
The first step to taking control of your body’s hydration while at work is to make checking the weather a daily routine. Establish a time during the evening to check the temperature that awaits your next workday. By checking the weather, you will gain an idea of how hot or humid the next day may be. Adhering to this routine can also help you get accustomed to preparing for the next day.
Prepare Ahead of Time
Once you have an idea of how hot the weather will be, think about how much water you need to drink. For hotter and more humid days, you want to be sure to stay on top of your water consumption. Below are some suggestions to help you prepare your water intake:
- You’re going to want to drink water before, during, and after work. Make sure to have the appropriate amount of water to allow for this.
- For every 15-20 minutes you spend working, you’re going to want to drink 5-7 oz of water or other hydrating fluids.
Pack Your Cooler
If you travel to different construction sites daily, consider investing in a portable cooler. These don’t have to be the big guys you take to tailgate at a football game—they can be the smaller ones that you can easily from place to place. Often insulated, you can pack these small coolers with ice. This will allow you to pack confidently, knowing your drinks will stay cool and refreshing all day long.
Ditch the Plastic Bottles
After reading the last paragraph, you’re probably thinking of purchasing a 24-pack of water bottles, ready to be placed in your cooler. However, there’s a better alternative to drinking plastic bottles, both for your well-being and the environment.
Reusable water bottles are your best bet. These are great because they are an eco-friendly alternative, with many offering an aluminum or stainless-steel look. This provides you with insulation to keep your water cold and your ice cubes frozen. Keeping a few of these in your cooler will guarantee you have a fresh, cold sip of water every time you need it.
With reusable water bottles, you also get a variety of water options to fill the bottles with. Keep in mind, purchasing bottled water to fill your reusable ones defeats the purpose of remaining environmentally conscious. Instead, tap water is a great alternative. There are many individuals who fear tap water, but they shouldn’t quite so concerned, as the government requires that tap water goes through safety testing. They don’t require the same for bottled water companies.
If that still doesn’t ease your mind, other alternatives can provide you with safe and purified drinking water that won’t create more harm to the environment. Here at H20 Coolers, we can provide your home with safer drinking water that boosts alkalinity by enriching it with nutrients and fortifying it with minerals.
If you’re an employer in the NYC area searching for ways to keep your employees hydrated, we can help you provide them with great alternatives to bottled water. Consider renting a water dispenser to place at your worksites and in your trailers. You can also give your employees the luxury of carbonation by renting a sparkling water cooler in NYC.
While water is the best option to stay hydrated, you can drink other fluids to ensure you stay refreshed throughout the workday. Other options include:
- Drinks with electrolytes
- Carbonated water
- Coconut Water
- Athletic drinks
It’s important to note that fluids other than water may have added sugars, preservatives, and calories. For this reason, your best option is to keep it simple with plain water, though the above are acceptable and will help you stay hydrated.
Be sure to follow these tips for staying hydrated on a construction site. By doing so, you’ll be taking the necessary precautions in keeping yourself safe and healthy.