If there’s anything that’s unpredictable about working in the Midwest, it’s the weather. The skies look clear in the morning, but there’s rain by afternoon. You think it’s going to be chilly, and you’re working in your short sleeves by mid-day.

No matter what’s going on with the weather, there are some easy and simple ways you can prepare and work comfortably outdoors throughout the year.

Stay Hydrated

We take our work seriously, right? Many of us get so focused on doing the job in front of us, we ignore the common signs of dehydration. But you should have an insulated bottle of water with you at all times. Pack it up right along with your tools every morning, especially if you’re working a long day in the sun.

Here’s a tip: Even if it’s not hot, when you’re working under hot lights or if you’re wearing thermal clothes, you could be sweating more than you realize. The more you sweat, the more you need to replenish fluids. 

If you’re managing a job site, we also recommend having a cooler full of water bottles. The last thing you want is for someone to suffer from heat exhaustion, which is serious and could require hospitalization.

Another pro tip: Bandanas. Bring a bunch with you, wet them down with ice-cold water, and wear one around your neck on super-hot days. That will help maintain your body temperature and prevent overheating. 

How About Sun Protection?

Clothing with UV protection probably isn’t going to win you a fashion award, but it does help prevent skin cancer. Today’s UV-protective short and long-sleeved shirts are made from highly lightweight fabric that’s designed to dry quickly, ideal for professional construction. 

Bright-orange bucket hats are hardly Instagram-worthy, either, but they protect your skin better than a baseball cap. Why? Because the brim in the back also keeps the sun off your neck. 

If you know you’re going to be working in the sun all day, consider stocking up on protective helmets with a full brim and a sunshield in the back. And listen, if baseball caps are really your thing? Pick up a dozen sunshields designed for caps and customize your very own.  

What’s Up With Your Feet?

When it comes to a long day of work, nothing is more important than your feet. 

We recommend purchasing different work boots for varying temps, weather conditions, and worksites. For example, even if you’re working indoors, worksite floors can be slippery and unforgiving to ankles, knees, hips, and backs. Purchasing work boots with appropriate soles that are both slip resistant and shock absorbing is massively important. 

If you’re going to be working in the mud, get at least one pair of boots that give you some shin and ankle coverage. Lightweight boots are more suitable for summer and warmer temps, while lined, water-resistant boots can keep your feet dry in rain and snow. 

We know that most of you probably do this already, but if you’re not sure what the day will bring, always have a change of shoes with you in the car just in case. 

How to Stay Dry and Warm

There are more products than ever designed for construction professionals to protect you from inclement weather. Rain ponchos are one thing, but look for rain pants, insulated rain jumpsuits, waterproof overalls, and more. 

Just like shoes and hats, you may need different gloves for different weather conditions. A pair of heavy gloves can be cumbersome when you’re doing a task that requires precision, but nothing beats a pair of insulated work gloves to warm up those sensitive digits on a frigid day. 

The bottom line: Nothing matters more than health and safety on the job site. At HOLT, we take your health and safety very seriously year-round. If you have questions about safety gear, tell us about your next project and get connected with the HOLT expert who can help.

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