Glaziers face dangerous conditions during summer heat wave
Summer temperatures are going beyond hot to scorching as a heat wave crosses the United States, breaking or tying records in more than 20 cities, according to an Aug. 11 report from ABC News. In the glass industry, glaziers are feeling the heat the most.
Triple digit days often with thick, sticky humidity can make a glass installer’s job difficult and dangerous, says Eric Nobles, head of the commercial contract estimating department for City Glass Co. of Colorado Springs, Colo.
As temperatures rise, glazing materials become more difficult to work with, he says. “Sealants have a temperature range,” he says. “If it’s below freezing, you can’t caulk. And if it’s too hot, and you have high humidity, the sealants tend to not set in. It increases the cure time.”
Scorching sunlight heats the glass surface. “Always tarp your glass before you start to handle it. Otherwise, it’s too hot to handle. … The surface can get to 150 [degrees] easily,” Nobles says.
The best way to avoid the heat is to keep workers offsite during the hottest days, Nobles says. City Glass Co. assigns glaziers to indoor jobs so they stay cool.
Many companies also adjust their onsite hours so workers can avoid the hottest times of the day. “We’ll work late in the evening, or come in just when the sun comes up,” says Danny Goode, vice president of Oak Cliff Mirror & Glass Co. in Dallas.
The best way to keep employees safe is through hydration, Goode says. “If you get to the point when you think you’re thirsty, then it’s too late.”
The safety director for Oak Cliff Glass & Mirror works directly with its foremen to ensure every jobsite has an abundance of water for workers, and that every employee can take breaks for water at any time. Foremen also learn to identify symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
Saundra Young, senior producer of medical news for CNN, offered some warning signs of heat-related illnesses in an Aug. 9 blog post commenting on the apparent nationwide heat wave.
Symptoms include: dizziness, throbbing headaches, reddening skin and a stop in sweat production, Young said.
—By Katy Devlin, e-Newsletter Editor, e-glass weekly