In the cold, winter months we don’t think of ways to avoid dehydration. While it becomes a larger concern in hotter temperatures, construction workers can still suffer from dehydration all year round.
EHStoday.com writes, “Industry estimates place the number of workers for whom heat stress is a potential safety and health hazard at 5 million to 10 million.”
In addition, MedExpress – one of the nation’s largest workers’ compensation providers – have stats showing workers comp visits due to dehydration into November and as early as March when the temperatures are still brisk.
That’s why your construction firm should take steps to ensure your workers stay hydrated throughout the year, not just in the summer.
Everyone knows the basics behind being dehydrated – it means not drinking enough water. But what is the greater impact of dehydration on the body and, as a result, performance in the workplace?
Research shows that about 75% of Americans are not drinking that recommended amount and could be coming into work dehydrated with symptoms like confusion, irritability, headache, or nausea.
Every day construction workers are loaded down with heavy tools and equipment, are constantly on their feet, and are performing physically strenuous tasks that take a toll on the body. When you add in forgetting to drink enough water, you have a recipe for disaster
Recognizing it in the workplace
It’s important to train your team that if they feel any of the following, they should immediately get some water:
● Muscle cramps
● Severe headaches
● Confusion and nausea
● Dry mouth
● Yellow or orange urine
Dehydration is often easier to spot in others so also tell your workers to watch out for their team.
How to avoid dehydration at work
There are two very simple things you can do at your construction firm to get a better handle on the dehydration problem – education and support.
First is, of course, being able to recognize the symptoms of dehydration. ForConstructionPros.com writes, “Educate workers on how to recognize the signs of dehydration in their team members like dry skin, confusion, sunken eyes, lack of energy, or irritability.”
Something also to keep in mind: Remind your team that caffeinated beverages and energy drinks are not effective to rehydrate the body. So while it’s perfectly normal to have a cup of coffee or two, it shouldn’t be the only beverage they’re drinking during the day.
Provide your team with reusable water bottles makes it easier for them to remember to fill up and take it with them from job to job. Also consider placing water stations at work sites so they don’t have to worry about running out of water halfway through the day.
When you work as a team to avoid dehydration throughout the year, you’ll notice increased productivity and decreased injuries on the job. It’s a win-win for everyone, and it puts safety and quality at your business first.