‘Electrolyte popsicles’: Five ways to survive the heat dome onsite

 Ninety Degrees in New York City (Erin Alexis Randolph/Dreamstime)
As a ‘heat dome’ breaks calendar-day temperature records across the US Midwest and Northeast, Skanska tells GCR five ways it’s keeping workers safe onsite.

1. Pre-shift training

We’re preparing for heat waves well in advance of their arrival.

As temperatures climb during the summer months, it is essential for all workers to recognise the signs of heat-related illnesses and understand how to prevent and protect themselves if they experience symptoms.

2. Electrolyte popsicles

We hydrate employees in the field by providing chilled water and, at the Simmons College project in Boston, Massachusetts, we provide frozen electrolyte popsicles.

They provide a boost of sugar and simple carbohydrates and are packed with electrolytes and water.

It gives them a chance to take a few minutes to enjoy something cold and flavoured. Though small, it means a lot to the team to feel cared for on the jobsite.

3. Frequent engagement

We frequently check in with all staff across our jobsites to assess how each employee is feeling.

New employees who haven’t been working in these conditions are among the most susceptible, so it is crucial that we’re checking in on them often.

As temperatures rise, we also encourage a buddy system among those on the jobsite to ensure everyone has a designated point of contact looking out for them throughout the day.

4. Encourage breaks

Providing shaded areas near the jobsite where employees can comfortably rest during lunch and breaks, with ample space to spread out and maintain distance, is crucial.

During this time, our team monitors staff to ensure everyone is feeling okay to continue working following their break.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke pose serious risks during active construction, especially in high humidity.

By regularly checking in on employees, we can assess their condition and ensure that everyone is safe to continue working.

5. Acting quickly

If at any time Skanska suspects symptoms of heat exhaustion such as hot, red, or dry skin, decreased sweating during activity, confusion, slurred speech, headache, dizziness, nausea, among others, prompt action is taken.

This ensures that the affected employee stops overexerting themselves and receives the immediate care needed to rehydrate and lower their core body temperature.

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