It has already been a very hot summer in Belgium and the temperatures will rise even more this week. The RMI is issuing warnings for a national heat wave, with temperatures exceeding 30°C, starting on Wednesday 10 August. The safety of all our employees is always priority number one in our company. That is why we would like to give you a few tips to get you through this period as well as possible, both on site and in the office and at home.
You can take several measures in the coming days:
- Plan lighter tasks during the warmest hours in the day, or work indoors if possible.
- Plan the heaviest physical tasks only in the morning.
- Take more breaks when you have to work outside.
- If necessary, have employees start earlier so that they can work in cooler temperatures as much as possible.
- Have employees work in the shade as much as possible (use umbrellas or tents, work in the shade of a building or vehicle).
- Drink plenty of water, even if you are not thirsty. Drink at regular intervals, rather than large quantities all at once.
- Advise your employees that it is better to drink water instead of sugary drinks or soft drinks.
- Order and provide enough chilled drinks free of charge.
- Protect your eyes, head and neck by wearing sunglasses, a cap or sun hat and a light scarf.
- Apply sunscreen liberally.
- If you are the manager of a construction site, provide free sun cream or advise your employees to wear long clothing.
- Provide sufficient bottles of windscreen wiper fluid for the vehicles in the fleet.
- Tell your employees to regularly check the tyre pressure of their vehicles. Underinflated tyres can heat up faster and even lead to a burst tyre.
Be alert to heat stroke or sunstroke
Heatstroke is a pronounced form of sunburn caused by prolonged exposure to the sun, especially of the neck and head. Heatstroke can also occur without a ray of sunshine (high temperature in combination with great efforts, for example) and is a failure of the body's ability to cool itself down. Heatstroke and sunstroke are usually the result of salt and moisture loss.
The first symptoms are a feeling of weakness, nausea, vomiting, headache, goose bumps, chills, hyperventilation, muscle cramps, loss of consciousness. Usually you can alleviate the symptoms of a sunstroke or mild heatstroke yourself, as long as the patient remains conscious, perspires sufficiently and the body temperature remains below 38°C. Heatstroke is said to occur when the body temperature is above 40°C and there are heart and respiratory problems and neurological symptoms such as confusion.
If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or someone around you, take immediate action:
- Get out of the sun immediately and stay out of the sun for several days.
- Cover the bare skin with wet, cool cloths. Try wetting the cloths again every five minutes. A fan can help to cool it down even more.
- Take a shower with soap to wash away the suntan lotion.
- Drink plenty of water, in small sips.
- If blisters occur, cover them with dry, sterile dressings.
- If the skin is red and painful, consult a doctor or pharmacist.
If the symptoms do not improve or the victim's body temperature exceeds 40°C, contact the medical services immediately.
We recommend that you keep a close eye on the weather forecasts so that you can take the appropriate measures in good time. Take care of yourself and your colleagues, relatives and friends.
Keep it safe,
Mark Beyst, General Manager BESIX Belgium-Luxembourg
Tim Hermans, HSE Manager BESIX Belgium-Luxembourg