by Frederike Berg
How to deal with the summer heat on the scaffold
This year, we are once again in for a particularly hot summer. In parts of southern Europe, temperatures have already reached over 40 degrees. The heat is also a big challenge for your work on the scaffold. Read here what you can do to get through the hot working days.
Heat hazards for scaffolders
No matter what time of year it is - you always have to be careful when working on scaffolding. And even though you are less likely to have to deal with slippery surfaces or strong winds in the summer, you should always be aware of the risks that the hot season brings.
Overheating, dehydration or simply slippery hands are potential risks that you should avoid at all costs.
Protect yourself from the sun when working on the scaffold
As a scaffolder, you spend most of the day outside. On the one hand, fresh air is quite healthy, but on the other hand, you are constantly exposed to heat and UV radiation, especially in summer. If the sun beats down on your head unhindered for hours on a particularly hot day, you can quickly get sun- or heatstroke. And that is not to be underestimated in any case.
One thing that makes perfect sense but is actually forgotten more often than you might think, is to always wear headgear in the summer. If a helmet is not required, you can protect yourself against sunstroke with a brimmed cap. And care should also be taken when choosing a helmet in summer. To avoid putting yourself at risk of overheating, you can switch to a more breathable option unless otherwise specified.
We know it’s annoying but use sunscreen! Preferably at least SPF 30 and reapply several times a day to maintain sun protection. Not only is sunburn extremely unpleasant, but no one really wants late effects like skin cancer.
Take breaks more often
Working in scaffolding requires a lot of muscle power. And especially this physical work, which may be easier for you in lower temperatures, can promote dehydration or heat stroke, especially in midsummer. So in general, take more breaks and seek the shade as often as possible. And of course: drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Mineral water is particularly recommended here, as it supplies your body with the minerals it loses through sweat.
If, despite all these precautions, you suddenly feel unwell, find a cool and shady place and inform your site manager. Look out for the following symptoms
- muscle cramps
Wear work gloves on the scaffold
Even if it is tempting to take off your work gloves in hot temperatures, not wearing them means an additional risk. If your hands are clammy, a scaffolding part or tool can easily slip out of your hand and, in the worst case, injure you or a colleague. Of course, you don't have to wear your thick winter gloves. There are different types of breathable gloves on the market with an anti-slip surface that are suitable for summer temperatures.
Safety on the scaffold should always be the no. 1 priority. Find more tips on how to stay safe on the scaffold in all weathers in our scaffolding blog.
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