Summer Construction Tips to Keep Your Crew Safe this Season

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There’s no denying it. Queensland has one of the most desirable climates in Australia – and the world, for that matter – for working a construction job. But, once the summer months hit and the temperatures ramp up, so do the responsibilities of Site Managers and Foremen to keep their teams safe from the harsh elements and the many associated risks.  We’ve pulled together a list of top-line safety tips to help you lead your crew through another hot summer. 

Provide Water on Site 

Labouring is hot work! Workers can break a sweat even in the most moderate conditions. In the heat, if the water lost through sweat is not replaced which means your crew are at risk of dehydration.   Queensland Health recommends that men drink 2.6 litres daily, whilst women should drink 2.1 litres. It is important to note that these recommendations are for standard conditions, not for those working strenuously in the Queensland summer.  Encourage your team to bring enough water (at least 4 litres) to last the day and to take regular water breaks. You could also provide cool water on all sites that you are managing. Discourage sugary or caffeinated drinks during the summer working day, as they increase the risk of dehydration. 

Schedule the Day Around the Heat 

If the job permits, scheduling working hours or specific tasks around the heat can be a saviour. If an early start is possible, get the labour-intensive or outdoor jobs achieved during these hours and leave those tasks that require less exertion for the heat of the day.  Of course, depending on the nature of the job and the various site restrictions, you may not have the luxury of structuring your day like this. It’s worth considering for those times when it is, however. 

Heatstroke: Know the Signs! 

In the intense heat, our bodies must work harder to maintain a core temperature of 36.1 – 37.8˚C. Sweating is one of our body’s heat-coping mechanisms. We can develop heat-related illnesses like heat stress and heat stroke if we get dehydrated and can’t produce enough sweat.  You and your crew must learn to recognise signs of both and have a response plan in place so that you act as soon as possible. As with most illnesses, early detection is best. Ensure everyone knows what actions to take should someone fall victim to the heat. Shade breaks help to prevent the onset of heat stress and heat stroke. Time spent out of the elements gives the body a chance to cool down, thus reducing any prolonged stress.  Where there are no buildings or natural shade, supply a UPF-rated gazebo or shade structure to the site. Insist your workers take all breaks in the shade, even if only for quick water breaks. 

Sun Protection is a Must 

The Australian sun is brutal! The damage it causes can be fatal. Supplying your team with the necessary kit to protect them from the dangers of too much sun exposure is a must.  Sunsmart Australia recommends supplying: 
  • A sunblock with a minimum 30+ protection rating in a non-greasy formula that won’t impact tool handling 
  • Wrap sunglasses with the following specifications (AS/NZS 1067 or with an EPF of 9 or 10) or safety glasses (AS/NZS 1337.1: 2010). 
  • A wide-brimmed hat (where helmets are not required) or a construction helmet with a brim attachment. 
Notes on sunblock – store in a cooled environment (below 30 degrees) and always check the expiry date! 

Plan Worker Attire 

Australia’s unique conditions have led to incredible innovations in fabric and garment technology. Our leading workwear brands, like Bisley, Kingee and Hard Yakka, offer summer ranges.  Features like lightweight and UPF-rated fabrics and built-in mesh ventilation panels have improved the comfort and functionality of the basics! Ensuring your team hits the tools dressed in the appropriate gear is an excellent way to protect them from the elements. 

Elevating Team Culture 

As a Site Manager or T, we encourage you to foster a culture of care. Insist that your tradies look out for each other and hold each other accountable – are their mates taking shade and water breaks or applying sunblock throughout the day? The simple act of checking in could save someone’s day!  We encourage you and all those in leadership to role model best practices. Hydrate, cover-up, eat well and take breaks. By doing so, you set an example and a standard that is easy for your labourers to follow.  Furthermore, incorporate summer site safety protocols into your onboarding programme. By embedding these basic principles into the mindset of new workers from the outset, you will have better success in engraining them into your everyday working culture. 


It can be easy to get wrapped up in the job and want to push on through to meet project deadlines. Whilst this is acceptable during the winter, this is an approach stacked with risk on a summer work site! Put the above tips into action to keep your team safe, and set them up to work efficiently and effectively despite the conditions.  Here at YourTrades, we’re here to support you! If you need more information regarding site safety or construction recruitment. Contact us today to find the best to work with you on site. 
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