Construction Industry Workers – Are you Drinking Enough on the Job?
During the hot summer months, those who work outside, including construction workers, need to take extra care to ensure that they don’t fall victim to heat damage. Last week we advised our readers on how to ensure that you stay safe from the harmful effects of the sun when working outdoors all day, so today we’re going to take a look at how to make sure you don’t suffer from dehydration. While the title of this blog post may have caught your eye and led you to thoughts of beer – that’s not what we’re talking about at all – we’re talking water here, folks! Cool, clear drinking water.
Drinking enough water when working outdoors (and indoors, for that matter) is essential and here in the UK, there is a legal requirement for employers to ensure that workers are provided with clean drinking water that is readily accessible and in suitable places. Unless the water supply comes from jet that can be used to drink easily, cups must also be provided. The UK Health and Safety Executive guidelines stipulates that where possible, drinking water should be supplied direct from the mains. If drinking water for employees has to be stored, then it should be protected from possible contamination and changed often enough to prevent it from becoming stale.
Moreover, the drinking water supply must be clearly marked as drinking water to prevent it from being confused with hazardous liquids or water that is not fit for drinking. Cups or other drinking vessels should be supplied next to the water outlet unless the water is supplied via a drinking fountain in an easily accessible place.
It’s often the case that it’s easier and more convenient on a construction site to carry a personal, reusable water bottle and this is also considered a more environment friendly option. There are plenty of sturdy water bottles on the market nowadays and many of these will feature a chilling method or thermal insulations to keep the water cool. Using a personal drinking bottle of this type is a great way of monitoring the amount of water you drink to ensure that you get enough and don’t suffer the effects of dehydration. Dehydration is especially dangerous on a construction site as it can lead to a loss of both strength and stamina and, in serious cases, it may have an adverse effect on kidney function and increase the risk of kidney stones. Dehydration can also lead to muscle damage and constipation.
The symptoms of dehydration include:
· feeling thirsty
· dark yellow and strong smelling pee
· feeling dizzy or lightheaded
· feeling tired
· dry mouth, lips and eyes
· peeing little and less than 4 times a day.
Dehydration is more likely to occur if you have:
· vomiting or diarrhoea
· been in the sun too long (heatstroke)
· drunk too much alcohol
· sweated too much after exercising
· a high temperature of 38C or more.
While there’s not set amount of water that you should drink in a day, paying attention to the symptoms is a great way of making sure that you’re getting enough water, especially during the warmer summer months