When we think of hazards during the summer, our thoughts typically go straight to heat. While heat is a contributing factor to incidents during the summer months, it’s the combination with other seasonal factors that makes this time of year the most dangerous in our company. All of the factors to consider are:
• The weather
• The time of year as it relates to the type of work we are doing
• The time of year as it relates to how long we’ve been working
We’re past the half year mark and many districts have been running hard since January or even the January before that! This not only has an effect on an employee’s physical ability, but also their general mental state. If you’re exhausted mentally and physically it will have negative effects on not only your health, but your work quality will suffer immensely.
Make sure that you’re taking enough breaks throughout the day (especial¬ly when it’s hot), consuming enough liquids and getting enough rest at night. Also, consider eating more fruits and vegetables and consuming less alcohol and caffeine during those busy times of year. Your body and mind will both perform much more effectively and you won’t feel the need to rush to make up for poor performance.
In many areas that we work, we’ve experienced high rain fall and are now experiencing hot, dry conditions. With truck engines run¬ning for long intervals of time in combination with driving these vehicles down rights-of-way that have tall grass, this is a perfect environment for grass fires. Be aware of this hazard and take appropriate action to help avoid a fire like avoiding this type situation or taking extra time to find shaded, less grassy areas.
Since we’re in the middle of our busiest time of year, it’s easy to neglect our equipment. Most of our equipment prob¬ably hasn’t received much attention since the winter. Whether it’s an oil change, low tread on tires, or a pinging noise that you’ve heard in the spray rig’s engine for the last month, neglecting these issues are a poten¬tial hazard.
Not only is neglected equipment dangerous, but it’s also ineffi¬cient. Whatever small amount of time you save by putting off maintenance and repairs will surely be lost when the equipment causes an injury, runs poorly, or completely breaks down and stops production for days. Make sure your operators inform supervisors of equipment issues so that they may be addressed. Remember, your equipment has been working as hard as you have.
In the last two years, we’ve experienced fires caused by the auto-ignition of fuel on hot pump motors. This is not only caused by the high outside temperatures, but also running our equipment without allowing it ample time to cool down before fueling. This has happened twice and can happen again. Please take ample time to allow skid units to cool before refueling them.