Updated 6/20/2016 – Keeping cool working in the hot sun is best left to a very brisk, cool, dry breeze. That’s not going to happen. But, there are some products that can help out.
As you might expect there are many options for keeping a cool head. Erogodyne cooling products has some interesting ones with no moving parts. The company claims its bandanas and headbands, triangle hats and hard hat inserts use evaporative cooling to tame the heat for 24 to 48 hours. There are also cooling vests, wrist sweatbands, hydration packs and an item called a High Performance Cap that will also fit under a hard hat.
Here’s one of the company’s Evaporative Cooling Bandanas available through Amazon. If you use the links below to buy something, Construction Informer gets a cut.
Here are other products from other companies that have gotten good reviews.
The Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad Evaporative, Cooling, Snap Towel absorbs eight times its weight in water so it has longer evaporation times than other towels. Wet it and wrap around your neck or put it over your head. Rewet as needed.
Stay hydrated too with the Cool Gear 32 oz EZ-Freeze water bottle. Free of BPA, PVC and Phthalates. It has a flip up drinking straw, carry loop and a gel filled freezer stick that keeps the liquid cold.
Feet need to stay cool too and these Thorlo Men’s Coolmax Lt Hiker Crew Socks get the thumbs up in that department. Cushioning in the ball and heel helps with shock while the ventilation panel helps keep moisture down. Money back guarantee too.
The Hanes Men’s 2 Pack Short Sleeve Cool Dri T-Shirt adds UV protection to its moisture wicking abilities. Tough stitching at the neck, sleeve and bottom hem make it a durable partner on the job site.
Here’s another post that covers the various types of cooling options for personal wear.
What follows is outdated/unchecked text of the original post from 2008.
As temperatures soar keeping cool on a construction job can be challenging. The State of Washington has backed away from some requirements in its battle against heat stress in the wake of a lot of complaints that they were going too far. Gone is the requirement that employers need to maintain temperature records, and the state has also simplified details regarding training and educating workers on heat-stress and implementing accident prevention programs.
However, the rules that kick in at 89 degrees if people are working in direct sun wearing regular clothes are still in effect. At that point employers have to provide at least a quart of water per hour to each employee, provide shaded rest areas and have a written plan to prevent heat stress. Last year the state uncovered and fined employers for 860 violations. Four people have died of heat stroke in that state since 1997 and hundreds have been hospitalized. There are other requirements based upon the other kinds of clothing that may be worn, like hazmat suits.
Things get really hot under a hard hat. Harvard Medical School says 30 percent of a person’s body heat is attributable to the head. Now, a company called Salisbury (the original link that was here now goes to Salisbury by Honeywell with a listing of electrical safety items; the hard hat shown doesn’t appear to be available there) has released a lithium-powered fan for hard hats. The device has a computer chip that controls timed released bursts of air into the cavity space of the hat. The unit operates for one minute on and four off. There is also a glove-friendly manual switch for those times when you want to be in charge of the cooling.
As part of its Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers, OSHA offers a free Heat Safety Tool – a downloadable app that calculates a worksite’s heat index and displays a risk level to outdoor workers.
With a simple click, users can get reminders about protective measures that should be taken at that risk level to protect workers from heat-related illness. The tool is available in English and Spanish.
Water, Rest and Shade: three simple words can mean the difference between life and death when temperatures soar. Remember, protecting workers from rising temperatures is about more than their comfort.
To prevent heat related illness and fatalities:
– Drink water every 15 minutes, even if you are not thirsty.
– Rest in the shade to cool down.
– Wear a hat and light-colored clothing.
– Learn the signs of heat illness and what to do in an emergency.
– Keep an eye on fellow workers.
– “Easy does it” on your first days of work in the heat. You need to get used to it.