If anyone knows that strenuous work takes a toll on the body, construction workers do. It’s important to stay energetic to protect from accidents, injury, and long-term health issues. Follow these tips to stay alert on the job site:
Get a good night’s sleep
Before a grueling day on the job, make sure to catch some Zs. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep deprivation increases the likelihood of a workplace accident by 70%. A Colorado State University study examined the relationship between construction workers’ sleep patterns and workplace safety, and found that poor sleep quality is linked to lapses in attention, memory, and actions – all of which can lead to serious hazards. In fact, the effects of fatigue are often compared to the effects of alcohol, and you would never get behind the wheel of a bulldozer after having a few beers.
Don’t get too hungry
Try to take your lunch break before your blood sugar gets too low. Waiting too long to eat can lead to lightheadedness, which can be dangerous on the job site. Imagine being on a scaffold hundreds of feet in the air and feeling suddenly dizzy because you haven’t had protein in six hours. If possible, carry some nuts or a cheese stick with you, or have ready access to them. When you do eat lunch, try to avoid filling up on unhealthy, fast foods – it can decrease your energy and lead you to feel sluggish and tired.
Take a walk
If you feel lethargic later in the day, skip the coffee and try taking a quick walk. A University of Georgia study found that walking for 10 minutes is more energizing than 50 mg of caffeine. If your supervisor allows it, go for a short walk and clear your head. It can help reenergize you for the rest of your shift.
Drink (a lot of) water – even when outside temperatures drop
Summer may be ending, but dehydration is a year-round risk for construction workers. When outside temperatures feel cooler, you may not feel as thirsty. But no matter the temperature or conditions, heavy lifting or hauling can still cause construction workers to get dehydrated. Make sure to continually drink water throughout the day by keeping a large water bottle or jug nearby at all times.
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