The nature of electrical construction means workers may need to spend long hours outdoors in hot, humid conditions. If those people don’t take the proper precautions, they’re at risk for heat-related issues that could be fatal.
Fortunately, specialized technological solutions can help users avoid complications caused by hot work environments.
1. Handheld misting fans
Sometimes the combination of water droplets and cool air provide the relief workers need to beat the heat. A handheld misting fan is an excellent option, especially since some models cost $5 or less. They’re designed to make people feel cooler without saturating the skin, meaning electrical workers don’t have to worry about getting slippery while using these gadgets during their breaks.
Some handheld misting fans are so small that it’s easy to store them in pants pockets or the side compartments of insulated lunch bags, making them ultra-portable solutions that electrical contractors can get in the habit of bringing to work every day during the hottest season of the year.
2. Hydration packs
The body loses water due to perspiration, and research indicates even mild dehydration compromises brain functionality and overall performance. Although electrical workers may know they need to drink water, they may still procrastinate with getting hydrated, especially if stopping for water interrupts what they’re doing. Plus, electrical workers know that water doesn’t mix with electricity, and its presents around electrical components and equipment can be a hazard.
Hydration packs keep water securely inside leak-proof plastic containers connected to tubes that users bite down on to make the water start flowing. Most of them have straps that enable people to wear them.
It’s also easy to hang hydration packs from chairs or fence posts. Some of the most advanced kinds feature materials that prevent bacterial growth, making the components easy to clean for daily use. Some even have two separate bladders, enabling people carry more than one beverage simultaneously (e.g., water and electrolyte-filled drinks).
3. Cooling headwraps
Research about how to keep people cool as they slept found applying cooling products to the head decreased the skin temperature of the head and back. Electrical workers won’t be sleeping on the job, of course, but they can still feel more comfortable as they work by using headwraps to keep cool. Many of these products are thin enough to tie around the forehead, so they won’t slip down during movement.
Most headwraps have specially formulated gel inside, causing no-mess experiences for the people who use them. It’s easy to put the headwraps—or their accompanying gel packs—into the freezer overnight, then remove them to use the next day.
Other versions don’t include gel packs but feature moisture-wicking fabric that helps the head feel cool even as people sweat.
4. Hardhat coolers
Workers involved in building stadiums for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will get to wear hardhats with built-in fans and specialized cooling materials. Those specific designs are still in development, but various other brands offer integrated hardhat-cooling gadgets to help people avoid getting overheated while wearing protective gear.
Some attach to hardhats with Velcro, while others stay in place with clips. Alternatively, if electrical contracting companies have large numbers of employees who consistently have to work in extraordinarily hot conditions, they may wish to order specialized hardhats with cooling systems powered by batteries or solar panels inside them, thereby eliminating the need for workers to alter their existing headgear.
Beyond models with fans, some hardhat liners keep the head cool as people wear protective equipment, like the headwraps discussed above.
5. Cooling vests
Marathon runners often suit up in cooling vests crafted from materials that keep the body’s core temperature stable. Some also have pockets throughout them that allow for inserting gel packs for cooling that lasts up to 10 hours.
The streamlined nature of these wearable accessories makes them ideal for use under a work uniform. That means electrical contractors can wear uniforms and protective equipment without the vests interfering with that apparel.
6. Heat-reducing seat covers
Besides the cooling assistance electrical workers might need while on the job, it’s essential they also effectively deal with heat when traveling to job sites. Even when their company vehicles have air conditioning, seat coolers can provide additional desirable effects because they’re in direct contact with the body.
Versions exist that plug into a car’s power outlet and have mini air conditioners inside that allow for adjustable coolness. Other less advanced options feature specialized materials made for minimal heat absorption that promote good moisture management as a person sweats while sitting in the seat. Moreover, some cooling gel pad options rest on top of a seat’s surface.
Excessive heat negatively impacts productivity
The tremendously hot conditions the summer season often brings can drastically and adversely impact the overall productivity of individual electrical contractors or entire workforces. ECs who are too hot may find the heat distracts them so much that it’s difficult to concentrate. In addition, if their palms become sweaty, dexterity gets compromised.
Additionally, if employees don’t take thorough precautions against issues like heat stroke, they may miss several days of work.
Some scheduling-based interventions could make summer’s heat more bearable. For example, a company could attend to the hottest jobs—such as those involving small, enclosed spaces like attics—as early in the day as possible. But altering the work schedule is only one solution that’s not feasible in all cases.
The kinds of products discussed here are useful for individual contractors and entire teams to stay contently cool for the best productivity and results.