Florida is the sunshine state, so most in the state are used to dealing with many days of soaring temperatures and high humidity. Even so, Jeff Crotto, CERP, president, All About Events – Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Fla., continually reinforces hot weather safety measures with his team.
“We can have 90-degree days in April, so our hot weather season is longer than many other places in the country. As soon as the temps rise, we talk with the team to make sure they take proper measures and don’t overdo,” says Crotto, who is a member of the American Rental Association (ARA) Event Rental Advocacy Work Group. Those measures include:
Being hydrated. “If they start hydrated, they are less likely to have a problem throughout the day, so we encourage them to drink water all the time,” Crotto says. “We provide bottled water year-round. We also have a freezer. The team likes to put their bottled water or Gatorade in there, so it freezes and stays cold throughout the day. In addition, we provide big coolers for the trucks so they can take cold water with them to job sites.”
Staying cool. “We have built-in exhaust fans and very large fans in the laundry area and warehouse to keep the air moving for everyone,” he says.
Taking breaks. “We tell everyone on our team to take breaks and don’t overdo. It is when they push it that they can get into trouble,” Crotto says.
Wearing appropriate gear. “Our team on the road wears moisture-wicking T-shirts, which helps keep them cool. We also provide hats,” he says.
Loading equipment on second shift. “We do most of our loading at night, which takes our team out of the sun. But the way our loading area is set up, it is pretty shaded. If they need to load inventory earlier, it isn’t too bad there,” Crotto says.
Starting morning shift earlier. “We will start earlier if needed during the peak of the hot days,” he says.
The biggest step that Crotto and his managers do is educate the team. “We let everyone know what to do to keep themselves safe. My operations manager will talk with those in each truck every morning before they go out. We found that one-on-one interaction to be more effective as they listen to what they need to do. He not only covers the operational aspects but also talks about the weather conditions, if appropriate. He makes sure they have water with them and reminds them to keep drinking water and taking breaks,” Crotto says.
Crotto has had newer employees overdo and end up not feeling well and needing to go home. “This is not what we want but seeing it can serve as a wakeup call to everyone. There’s a reason we keep talking about it. Not doing what you need to do in the hot weather can have serious consequences,” he says.