Glaziers take precautions against summer heat

July 26, 2006
During summer, when living is hot and humid and aluminum framing can get too fiery to handle, glaziers must take precautions to protect workers from dehydration and heat stroke. “We’re more conscious of our laborers’ health” during these months, says Robby Sauls, general manager for Harmon Inc. in Lithia Springs, Ga.

In Las Vegas, where the temperature often soars to well over 100 degrees, officials at Sierra Glass and Mirror Inc. try to have workers on the job as early as 5 a.m. and done by 1 p.m., says John Shum, vice president of operations.

However, if getting an early jump on the day is not possible, Sauls says Harmon managers try to be aware of “the hours an employee works on a particular task.” For example, during installation of exterior sun shades on southern or western elevations, supervisors will try to rotate workers out of the sun, provide more opportunities for breaks and avoid overtime. “We try to keep [people] from working in the heat eight full hours a day, every day,” he says.

Glazing through the summer, says Dreux Campbell, a manager at Go-Glass Corp. in Salisbury, Md., means having plenty of cold water on site and encouraging workers to pace themselves and drink plenty of fluids. Jim Berrigan, owner of Louisiana Glass in Baton Rouge, agrees. “Keeping our guys hydrated all day long is the biggest thing we care about.”

Campbell also worries about workers keeping their minds on the job. During the summer months, he says, their minds tend to drift toward vacations or their children’s sports.

Finally, Campbell advises, workers must be vigilant of their surroundings. “You have to look out for yourself; you have to look out for the people around you.” While on the job in Ocean City, Md., his employees keep an eye on the tourists who are so distracted that they bump into workers carrying glass.