Hot Weather

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CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training

Summary Statement

This toolbox talk on dealing with hot weather was created by CPWR in conjunction wtih NIOSH researchers. It is aimed at a broad construction audience and employs elements shown to be effective, particularly case studies and participation by the crew. It is designed so the crew can look at the graphic on the back while the message is being delivered. The graphic can also serve as a poster for construction trailers. This is part of a major effort that will generate 52 toolbox talks.

CPWR Toolbox Talk logoCertain safety problems are common in a hot environment. Heat on the job can cause dizziness, discomfort and the fogging of safety glasses, all of which can lead to accidents.


Here is an Example

John, a bricklayer, had been outside for 7 straight hours in extremely hot weather. He began to experience nausea and grew very tired. Once his supervisor noticed John was working much slower than usual, he ordered him to take a break, which included resting, eating, and drinking water.

Recognizing Heat Illness

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, weakness, moist skin, mood changes such as irritability or confusion, upset stomach and vomiting. Heat stroke is an immediate threat to life. Serious cooling with ice or cold water must begin at once. Symptoms of heat stroke include dry, hot skin with no sweating, mental confusion, loss of consciousness, seizures and convulsions. Call 911 immediately.

Employers should provide shade, rest breaks, and water. What can you do to help avoid exhaustion from heat?

Preventing Injuries from Hot Weather

  • Get enough sleep.
  • Wear light clothing, and include a shirt that serves as a shield from the sun’s rays.
  • Whenever outside, wear a loose-fitting long-sleeved shirt and long pants. Hard hats will protect the scalp.
  • Avoid alcohol; it is particularly dangerous while working in a hot setting.
  • Drink water moderately (about eight ounces every 15 minutes).
  • Plan the day to tackle more strenuous jobs during the cooler morning hours.
  • Rest in shaded areas.
  • Watch new employees for signs of heat illness because it takes about one week for the body to adjust to the heat.

What Are We Going to Do Today?

What will we do here at the worksite today to prevent being injured in hot weather?

  1. _________________________________________________________
  2. _________________________________________________________
  3. _________________________________________________________

Illustration of person in shade away from the sun drinking water

  • Drink water every 15 minutes. Don't wait until you feel thirsty.
  • Rest in shade or air-conditioning.
  • Know the signs of heat stroke; it is a medical emergency.
  • ©2013, CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training. All rights reserved. CPWR is the research, training, and service arm of the Building and Construction Trades Dept., AFL-CIO, and works to reduce or eliminate safety and health hazards construction workers face on the job. Production of this card was supported by Grant OH009762 from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIOSH.