How Rain Gardens Help Remove Pollution

13

Dec
2013
Posted By : asl 0 Comment
Categories :Planting, Services

Rain gardens, or bio-retention areas, are important factors in keeping fertilizers, pesticides, and other pollutants from entering Connecticut’s local bodies of water. When implemented in a construction project, rain gardens are a low-impact development techniques that help meet the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System’s (NPDES Phase II) requirements.

Stormwater Management

The mechanism by which rain gardens work to remove pollution is relatively simple they are built in recessed areas on flat or gently sloping land; the runoff water collected from the worksite begins pooling in the recessed area instead of entering creeks and drains. Top layer elements such as gravel and mulch help the garden to evenly disperse the pooled water (and to reduce local soil erosion). Once the water has been dispersed across the mulch or gravel layer, the underlying soil and plants’s root systems will then work to soak up the excess water.

Filtering Pollutants

Now that the runoff water has been redistributed and begins seeping down into the soil and plant roots via the top layer, the filtration process begins. The soil in a rain garden is an important part of the pollution filtering process; soil should be a good mix of clay, sand and compost as these are the main elements that work to treat pollutants in runoff water. Because lawns and gardens attract heavy foot traffic, it’s important that the soil used in rain gardens not be so compact that the water is not absorbed effectively. The plants selected for a rain garden are important as they both remove the excess water from the soil through evapotranspiration (the evaporation and movement of water through plants) and remove extra nutrients through ecological recycling  (the cycle of organic/inorganic matter into living matter).  The plants selected need to have healthy root systems; native species are a good choice for local rain gardens as they are hearty and have well-developed roots.

A Typical Home Rain Garden

These attractive gardens are an environmentally friendly landscape feature that developers, city planners and homeowners want to incorporate in their plans. Typically the first defense in protecting local bodies of water and wetlands from polluted stormwater runoff, rain gardens are key to effective stormwater management.

Key Takeaway

Rain gardens are good for the environment. They are low-impact landscape features that help reduce the level of chemical pollution in our nearby bodies of water. Further, rain gardens prevent local flooding and lawn damage. The various shrubs, grasses and trees that are planted in a rain garden attract wildlife and provide shelter for them. An added bonus for property owners is that rain gardens often attract insects and birds, reducing the amount of nearby mosquitoes. All Seasons Landscaping in Newington, CT, is experienced in installing attractive and efficient rain gardens. We routinely use native Connecticut plants in our work and take the issue of invasive species removal and control seriously. If you need landscaping contractors with expertise in rain garden installation, look no further than Newington\’92s All Seasons Landscaping.

Bio-Retention Areas: Rain Gardens

04

Dec
2013
Posted By : asl 0 Comment

Rain Gardens, also called bio-retention areas, are key components for erosion control and stormwater management. Following the EPA\’92s recommendations for low-impact development (LID), rain gardens use natural resources as a way to keep polluted stormwater away from bodies of water.

Recent NPDES Phase II Regulations and the Stormwater Pollution Protection Plan (SWPPP) have placed new importance upon erosion control, stormwater management, and bio-retention areas for use in modern landscaping.

Purpose of Rain Gardens

The main purpose of bio-retention areas is to improve the water quality of nearby streams, creeks, ponds, and lakes by preventing fertilizers and pesticides from entering them. Rain gardens are recessed areas of land typically made of soil, mulch, and native plants. They are designed to accommodate and drain runoff rainwater from nearby structures (roofs, parking lots and driveways). Property owners appreciate both the natural beauty of rain gardens and that they promote drainage (which help to reduce local flooding and damage). Depending upon a property\’92s needs, bio-retention cells can be large or small; they can be designed as several smaller gardens to minimize their overall impact.

Environmental Benefits of Rain Gardens

The EPA has stated that stormwater runoff is a major cause of water pollution today. Rain gardens work to minimize the stormwater runoff and pollutants that enter local rivers, streams and creeks (even the Long Island Sound). Stormwater that sinks into drains and surface waters can cause erosion, pollution, flooding and groundwater problems; rain gardens have been shown to positively reduce the amount of pollution by as much as a third. Rain gardens work to filter out pollutants from entering nearby bodies of water. As they are often planted with native plants, provide food as well, rain gardens also provide shelter for local wildlife.

Constructing Rain Gardens

Bio-retention areas can be designed to fit in with any landscape. Most rain gardens contain the following elements:

    • Grass
    • Pants
    • Mulch or gravel
    • Soil
    • Sand (to filter out pollutants) 

Depending upon their size and complexity, rain gardens can also be built with underdrain systems to direct the filtered excess water to nearby storm drains. Ideally, bio-retention areas should be located at least ten feet (but not more than 30 feet) away from runoff producing structures (such as driveways or roofs) to ensure adequate drainage.

Many shrubs and plants native to Connecticut such as Switchgrass and the Mountain Laurel) are ideal for rain gardens as natives typically need less fertilizer, pesticides, and watering than their exotic counterparts. Additionally, natives typically have extensive root systems that can easily accommodate storm-water drainage.

Key Takeaway

Low Impact Development (LID) and rain gardens are here to stay. The installation of bio-retention areas in a development or community is in compliance with the NPDES Phase II regulations and Storm Water Pollution Protection Plans for reducing water pollution.

All Seasons Landscaping knows rain gardens, native plants and wetlands planting; if your project requires installation of a rain garden, make All Seasons Landscaping your first and last call. We\’92ve been in the business since 1975 and we employ Best Management Practices for effective water pollution control (BMP). As one of the leading landscaping contractors in Connecticut, there\’92s no job too large for us; you can see examples of our work throughout Connecticut and the surrounding states.

Talk to us about your project

Image Courtesy: Free Digital Photos

6 Tips For Choosing a Reliable Snow Removal Company in Connecticut

26

Nov
2013
Posted By : asl 0 Comment
Categories :Services, Snow Removal

The state of Connecticut is no stranger to frequent snow storms and icy conditions. Knowing how to choose a reliable snow removal company for your property is as important as owning a shovel. No two snow removal companies are alike. Some companies cater to smaller residential properties while some are experts in commercial snow removal. Regardless of whether your property is half an acre large or 100, the basics of how to choose a reliable snow removal company remain the same. Here are 6 useful tips for choosing a reliable snow removal company in Connecticut:snow-removal-home

1. Know the Snow Removal Company’s Reputation & Experience

It is important to find out how long a company has been operating. A reliable snow removal company has been in business for years, not days. Choose a company that has experience in handling properties similar to yours as you don\’92t want to be the company’s largest and most unwieldy client. Go with a company that knows the ins and outs of handling properties similar to yours.

2. Does the Contractor Perform the Work Themselves or Subcontract?

It is important to ask if the company will perform all of the services themselves, partially, or subcontract.  A lot of companies only act as ‘middle men’ and therefore do not perform the work themselves.   They rely on subcontractors to perform the services.  This is not necessarily bad, but you should determine before signing a contract who will be doing the work and dif feel comfortable with the subcontractors they have in place.

3. Know the Snow Removal Company’s Equipment

The equipment a snow removal company uses says a lot about the company itself. Professional snow removal equipment should be well cared for and in good condition. Be sure to ask about their plows and tools, especially for larger jobs. Find out if the company brings extra parts with them in case a repair is necessary.

4. Know the Snow Removal Company’s Coverage

Snow removal coverage varies from contract to contract. Be sure to know what is covered by the snow removal company you choose. Some snow removal companies, for example, do not clear and treat steps or walks in their standard contracts, but may be willing to include them. A good snow removal company will be willing to work with you on your requests.

5. Know the Snow Removal Company’s Contract

A good snow removal contract will be tailor-made specifically for your property\’92s needs. Some snow removal contracts charge per visit while others are good for an entire season. Depending upon your property, you may find that one type of contract may work far better for your needs than the other. You should discuss the benefits of each and determine which fits your best needs.

6. Know the Snow Removal Company’s Services

Experienced contractors offer their clients a wide selection of services. Professional snow removal companies should offer pre-treating for icy conditions to off-site snow removal and everything in between. Even if you won’t be needing these services, be sure that the company offers them (in case you need them in the future).

Key Takeaway

Does the snow removal company provide all of the services or none? A lot of companies only middle the work and hire subcontractors to provide the services. There are benefits to each. A company who provides services has more control and typically provides better customer services with lower prices. A company who middles and subcontracts their work typically has more resources available. These companies can often have the challenges of communication as the client’s requests and expectations are often not communicated correctly. Ask the contractor who will be in charge of the site, what portion of the equipment on site will be supplied by others.

With experience and equipment that can handle projects of any size, our team understands that timing during New England winters is crucial to keeping your business safe and accesible. Talk to us about your project and we will work with you to schedule a service plan that will match both your needs and budget.

 

What are the Drawbacks of Paper Mulch?

30

Oct
2013
Posted By : asl 0 Comment
Categories :Uncategorized

Paper mulch, made from recycled newspapers and other paper products, is becoming an increasingly popular hydroseeding medium due it is not the right answer for every landscape construction project.

Drawbacks of Using Paper Mulch

Although paper mulch (also known as cellulose mulch) is more affordable then wood mulch as hydroseeding medium, it does have its share of drawbacks. Below are just a few things to consider before opting for paper:

    • Biodegradable – The good news is that paper mulch is biodegradable, but that is also the bad news. Paper mulch disintegrates much faster in the often-harsh New England weather than other mediums, including the traditional wood-fiber mulch.
    • Unreliable for Erosion Control. Also due to its biodegradability, paper mulch is generally held to be less effective at erosion control than other types of mulch. In many cases, mulch is needed for stabilization and protecting surfaces and a medium that can easily wash away and will not be effective for very long.
    • Few nutrients \’96 As it is made from repeatedly processed and recycled materials, paper mulch has little to no nutrients.  If you are using mulch to enrich seed beds you may want to consider pine or wood-fiber mulch instead.
    • Less attractive. Paper mulch is not the right product for showy seed beds. Unlike pine bark or other wood fiber mulch, due to many of its qualities, paper mulch can often appear soggy or patchy.

Alternatives to Paper Mulch

In most cases, Wood Fiber Mulch is frequently a more high-quality and effective medium than Paper Mulch. Unlike Paper Mulch, Wood-Fiber mulch does not disintegrate. When applied through hydroseeding, the wood fibers intertwine creating a three-dimensional layer on the treated soil. This makes it a far superior choice for winter protection, moisture control, and stabilization amongst many other things.

Furthermore, in areas where the general public may view the treated land, Wood Fiber Mulch is considered a far more attractive as well as far more nutrient rich.

Key Takeaway

Due to its affordability and easy application, Paper Mulch can be a good weapon to have in your arsenal, but for long-term solutions and erosion control, you will want to think twice about choosing it as your medium.  All Seasons Landscaping is a strong advocate of wood-fiber mulch as a superior medium for a variety of landscape construction project.

With nearly 40 years of experience, All Seasons Landscaping has all of the skills and knowledge to solve your hydroseeding, erosion control, and landscape construction needs overall. Follow the button below to talk to us about your project.

Choosing the Right Wetland Plants in Connecticut

16

Oct
2013
Posted By : asl 0 Comment
Categories :Services, Wetlands

One crucial decision during Connecticut Wetlands Planting is choosing the right plant. When restoring or planting in a wetlands area for the first time, it is important to choose native species.  While excess moisture would kill many non-native trees, shrubs, and flowers, native plants have adapted over time to thrive in these specific wetland ecosystems. They provide food for wildlife, help prevent run off, and aid in erosion control with their deep root systems.wetlands-home

Plants to Choose for Connecticut Wetlands Restoration

Every native species have their specific benefits. Below are a few hardy native species commonly considered for wetland planting in Connecticut and throughout New England. These choices not only look attractive, but help to maintain the environment as well.

Plant Name Benefit
Red Maple Vibrant, Fall Color
Pin Oak Vibrant, Fall Color
White Cedar Distinctive, Narrow, Tall Shape
Silky Dogwood White Flowers in the Spring, Food for Wildlife
Large Cranberry Food for Wildlife, Evergreen Foliage
Low or High Bush Blueberry White or Pink Flowers in Spring, Food for Wildlife
Virginia Spider Wort Long-lasting Purple Spring Flowers
Cinnamon Fern Attractive Fronds
Cattails Interesting Winter Appearance
Joe Pye Weed Pink and Purple Flowers in the Summer

 

Invasive Species Control and Removal

Some plants, even some seemingly innocuous plants, should be avoided at all costs. These invasive species can spread and choke out other wetlands vegetation in Connecticut, disrupting the fragile ecosystem. Most of these non-native plants arrived via boats, ships, and trains from other areas and are prohibited by Connecticut state law. The Connecticut Department of Environmental Sciences has identified a full list of invasive plants that need to be avoided at all costs.

The removal of existing invasive species can be difficult. The proper invasive species removal procedure depends on the type of plant and how it propagates. Plants that spread via rhizomes are best controlled by digging up all of the rhizome pieces as even a small segment can eventually grow into a full stand of plants. Underground barriers are also helpful in preventing the spread of rhizomes.

Plants that spread via seed are best controlled by cutting down the plant before the seed pod has had a chance to form, usually in the late spring or early summer.

Conclusion

Wetlands mitigation and keeping the Connecticut environment healthy requires effort from all of us. Knowing which plants are best suited to our fragile wetlands ecosystem (and which are not) is the first step to keeping our state beautiful for generations to come.

All Seasons Landscaping has all of the skills, experience, and knowledge to solve your wetlands planting problems on the toughest projects. Follow the button below to talk to us about your project.

Why is Slope Stabilization in Connecticut So Important?

04

Oct
2013
Posted By : asl 0 Comment
Categories :Uncategorized

One of the by-products of large landscape construction projects is the mountains of displaced soil such projects generate. As slopes can be graded and leveled off, the harsh New England rains and occasional tropical storms, hurricanes, or other natural disasters, can make it necessary to stabilize the soil so that they don’t become a hazard.waterbury-slope-stabilization-2

Why Slope Stabilization is Important 

The State of Connecticut and other New England states set strict standards on slope erosion control and how slopes on landscape construction sites should be handled. Left destabilized, slopes can send landslides of dirt and debris onto the roads or property below them. There can also be danger, as they shift, such slopes can affect the integrity of the foundations of structure above the slope. This can especially concerning during the Fall and Winter months as heavy rains and snow become an issue. 

Preventing Soil Erosion

There are many ways to prevent soil erosion on slopes disturbed by construction, natural disasters, or extensive earth work projects.

4 Ways to Prevent Soil Erosion

1. Hydroseeding – One of the most effective and cost-efficient methods of achieving slope stabilization is by hydroseeding. Grass or native wildflower seeds blown onto slopes set down roots quickly and help encourage soil stabilization. Hydroseeding helps these seeds to germinate more quickly and holds the soil better than dry seeding.

2. Shrubs and Perennials – The North Central Conservation District recommends adding native shrubs and perennial plants as anchors for grass seeds. These plants have deeper roots and can add to the slope’s stability.

3. Hay Mulch – Adding hay mulch, such as hay or straw can help the soil stay in place to provide a temporary slope protection.  It can also be beneficial to install a temporary seeding for example a perennial rye seed mixture to help with the erosion.  The benefit of using natural mulch is that it decomposes and doesn’t have to be removed at a later date.

4. Landscaping Blankets \’96 Erosion control blankets or matting can be very effective at controlling erosion. Made from biodegradable material, erosion control blankets are rolled out over the slope and anchored using staples. They protect the seeds until the root system has had a chance to develop.

Key Takeaways

Soil stabilization isn’t an impossible or budget-breaking task. With modern advances like hydroseeding your site can be compliant and without shut down.

With nearly 40 years of experience, All Seasons Landscaping has all of the skills and knowledge to solve your erosion control and slope stabilization needs in a bind.  Follow the button below to talk to us about your project.

The Importance of Landfill Erosion Control Through Hydroseeding

06

Aug
2013
Posted By : asl 0 Comment

Hydroseeding is changing the way Connecticut landfill owners manage their operations. This convenient technology replaces the need for dump trucks full of soil and the labor-intensive filling, spreading, and dumping of soil for a daily cover. Saving time and labor is just one of the many advantages to using hydroseeding for CT landfill erosion control.hammocks-hydroseed-full-2

Advantages to using Hydroseeding for Landfill Erosion Control and Daily Cover

Hydroseeding for Landfill Erosion Control offers several advantages over the traditional landfill daily cover of soil. Chief among these is efficiency. Using hydroseeding equipment to spread an approved alternate daily cover (ADC) of mulched recycled newspaper, polymers, and biological stimulants uses far fewer man-hours than hauling, tipping, and spreading dump trucks full of soil. Fewer man-hours mean lower labor costs and ultimately a healthier bottom line.

Dramatically lowering labor costs, however, is not the only benefit to using hydroseeding and an ADC. Such a landfill daily cover helps to prevent erosion by staying securely in place rather than being subject to mudslides and wind as dirt cover can be.

Hydroseeding and an ADC also help:

    • Repel vermin and other animals
    • Control dust
    • Help to prevent fire hazards
    • Reduce odor
    • Minimize blowing litter.

Hydroseeding with an ADC extends the life of your landfill. By reducing the air space that’s needed for soil cover, using an ADC can make your landfill handle more waste and last months, if not years, longer.

Hydroseeding helps Connecticut landfill operations stay within the EPA’s Phase II NPDES Storm Water Management program and Storm Water Pollution Protection plan guidelines. Using ADC as a daily and final cover is an effective method of drainage and erosion control in Connecticut landfills. This blown-in cover stays in place, unlike traditional soil covers that can shift during severe weather, causing potentially hazardous run-off. Not only do ADCs stay in place, but the polymers and recycled paper in the mixture help to absorb moisture rather than letting the rainwater pool at the base of the landfill.

Key Takeaways 

If you’re not using an ADC and hydroseeding for your Connecticut landfill erosion control, you’re missing out on an affordable, fast, and effective way to control erosion and help your company improve its bottom line. If you haven’t already started using an ADC, it’s time to consider using this technology in your operation.

When you are in a bind, All Seasons Landscaping has the experience and skill to solve your Connecticut Landfill Erosion Control quickly and effectively. If you are need of hydroseeding services please click the button below to talk to us about your project.

 

CT Erosion Control Guidelines: When to Use an Erosion Control Blanket

22

Jul
2013
Posted By : asl 0 Comment

Connecticut erosion control guidelines as well as those by the U.S. EPA encourage the use erosion control blankets to prevent pollution from storm water run-off and to help keep soil in place on steep grades. In fact, by 2014, all construction projects that disturb 10 or more acres of land will be required to submit an erosion control plan in writing to obtain the necessary permits. Erosion control blankets are one solution to this problem. Such devices are available in a variety of forms, both temporary and permanent, and can benefit a number of different types of job sites in a variety of industries.

Types of Erosion Control Blankets

There are 14 classes of erosion control blankets, each designed for specific uses and job sites. Within each broad category, there are different weights, designed for different grades and to withstand different stress levels.erosion-control-home

    • Netting — Made of natural fiber mesh, this type of temporary CT erosion control is useful for landscapers and helps to keep mulch and seed in place for a short period of time, such as until the plants are mature enough to offer their own erosion control. This netting also helps to keep the ground at a consistent temperature and moisture level, helping seeds to germinate and develop more quickly.
    • Biodegradable erosion control blanket — This type of blanket is made from natural materials and lasts from one to five years. This product is ideal for temporary job sites, such as new commercial construction sites, that will be completed during the one to five-year time frame.
    • Permanent turf reinforcement mat — Some job sites, such as highway projects, require more permanent erosion control. For instance, DOT erosion control in Connecticut requires that all DOT projects in the state use matting for stabilization to minimize run off on exposed slopes during the winter months.
    • Permanent erosion control blanket — This type of permanent erosion control is useful for those working in CT landscape construction. It can be used around ponds to keep the water from wearing down the sides and destroying vegetation.

All types of blankets are non-toxic both to plants and humans while requiring little maintenance.

Whether you work in landscaping, new home or commercial building construction or road construction, erosion control blankets are an effective solution to a number of soil problems. They can help your company meet the new EPA regulations and concentrate on getting your job done.

Contact All Seasons Landscaping

If you are in need of soil erosion control in CT contact All Seasons Landscaping. We have decades of proven experience with several types of erosion control methods. To learn more visit our website here or click the photograph below to submit your soil erosion project.

The Cost of Hydroseeding in Connecticut

10

Jul
2013
Posted By : asl 0 Comment
Categories :Hydroseeding, Services

There are many variables that determine the cost of Hydroseeding in Connecticut. Hydroseeding costs are typically based on a per square foot basis. That is, when the total square feet of an area is determined after considering all the factors, the contractor will determine a price for the whole job and divide it by the total square feet to come up with a unit price per square foot.hammocks-hydroseed-full-1

So what factors are considered?

    • Location (travel distance)
    • Size of project
    • Accessibility
    • Availability of water
    • Products to be used (seed mixture, fertilizer, fiber, and additives)
    • Prevailing wage or Open shop

Let\’92s look at each factor and discuss how it affects price.

Location

Travel time is a critical factor in determining the cost of a hydroseeding project. More time spent traveling means more labor, fuel, and equipment costs that will need to be recovered. In the commercial hydroseeding industry this can be misleading.  When a contractor is set up for hydroseeding they will typically have projects statewide and may be able to perform two jobs in a day. A contractor that has multiple trucks will often be more efficient as they can be in more locations in the same period of time. This may reduce costs.

Size

Size is a critical factor in determining the cost of hydroseeding as well. The larger the project is, the less of a factor travel becomes. Recovering the cost of travel is much less of a factor on a large scale shoot than it would be on a smaller project. What is small and what is large? This will depend on the contractor and what size equipment they utilize. As a general rule, the larger hydroseeding contractors can apply (under ideal conditions) 7-10 acres of hydroseed per truck and crew, per working day.

Accessibility

Hydroseeding can be applied in two methods; One is applying the materials through a large hose and the other is spraying from what is known as a \’93turret\’94 on top of the actual machine. Generally speaking, using a hose makes reaching difficult areas easier, but it also takes substantially longer than a turret. If the site is easily accessible and the truck can drive right on with the operator spraying from the turret, the time required to complete the project will be significantly less than if the crew is required to pull a hose repeatedly to gain reach hard to access the target areas.

Availability of Water

Water is a key element in the hydroseeding mix. A large hydroseeder requires more than 3000 gallons per each tank of mix. Depending on what materials are used and at what rates they are applied, a large hydro eeder can cover from \’bd to 1 acre per mixture. On a larger project multiple mixes may be required. Filling a truck by hydrant is the fastest way and when a hydrant is not available, pumping from a clean water source (pond or stream) would be the second choice. Usually filling with a garden hose is too cost prohibitive to even consider. It simply takes much too long to complete this prilimary task.

Product

Besides water there are 3 elements that are typically included in a standard hydroseed mix; Mulch, Seed & Fertilizer. Today there are more choices for these materials than there are flavors of ice cream at the local supermarket. In addition, mulch can be upgraded to more complex products such as Bonded Fiber Matrix or Flexible Growth Medium. Seed, depending on variety, can range in price from $1-3 per pound. In cases where special mixes are required, (wetland applications, etc.) prices can exceed even $100 per pound.

Prevailing Wage or Open Shop

Labor rates will also play an important role when determining the cost of hydroseeding projects.  It is important to know and understand prevailing wage rates.   Another factor to take into consideration on prevailing wage projects is the time associated with the reporting of certified payrolls and materials.   Open-Shop jobs are more straight forward as only federal and state minimum wage laws must be followed.

Key Takeaway

As one can see, there are a multitude of factors that affect the cost of hydroseeding in Connecticut and across the country. Without knowing each of the variables listed above it simply is not possible to responsibly determine the cost of applying the hydroseed mix. Determine your situation and requirements and then contact a hydroseeding professional to get an accurate quote of what your projects cost will be.

All Seasons Landscaping has over 38 years of hydroseeding experience and an array of equipment to get the job done quickly and efficiently. If you are need of hydroseeding services please click the photo below to submit your project for us to review.

The Connecticut Construction Industry is Heating Up!

27

Jun
2013
Posted By : asl 0 Comment
Categories :Uncategorized

With this week marking the first heat wave of 2013, it’s very important to make sure your workers are aware of the potential dangers of heat stress and take the necessary precautions to stay safe. Working in high temperatures and humidity, direct sun exposure, and no breeze or air circulation, especially when doing heavy physical labor as that required in the landscape and construction industries, can greatly put workers at risk of heat related illnesses.  Dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are the three progressive conditions of heat stress. If left untreated, the advancement from dehydration to heat stroke can take as little as 20 minutes, or hours, depending on the individual.

Dehydration

Dehydration is the least serious heat-related illness but can quickly progress into more serious conditions. The symptoms of dehydration include thirst, decreased perspiration, headache, cool & clammy feeling, headache, poor appetite, and dark colored urine.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion occurs when there is an excessive loss of water and salt due to excessive sweating. It is associated with headaches, dizziness, feeling lightheaded or fainting, nausea and vomiting, weakness, irritability, confusion, thirst, heavy sweating, fast and shallow breathing, and body temperatures over 100.4\’b0 F.   If a worker is showing signs of heat exhaustion, they should be removed from the work site and brought to a cool, shaded or air conditioned area. Encourage them to drink liquids and remove any unnecessary clothing. Try to cool the worker with cold compresses and water to their head, face, and neck. The worker should be brought to a clinic or emergency room for medical evaluation, but if the symptoms worsen, call 911 immediately.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is the most serious heat related illness and may result in death or permanent disability if not treated immediately. This occurs when the body’s temperature regulating system fails and the body can no longer sweat and cool itself. This causes body temperatures to rise rapidly above 104F within 10-15 minutes. The signs of heat stroke are dry, hot skin, no sweating, confusion, hallucinations, chills, loss of vision or consciousness, slurred speech, and seizures or convulsions.  If you suspect a co-worker is suffering from heat stroke, call 911 immediately and notify their supervisor. Bring them to a cool, shaded or air-conditioned location and try to cool them by showering them with water until emergency responders arrive.

Steps Employer’s Should Take to Prevent Heat-Related Illness

Although there are no specific laws and regulations related to heat stress, it is stated in the OSHA General Duty Clause that employers are required to provide \’93employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees.\’94 To make sure all your workers stay safe on these hot summer days, follow these important guidelines:

    • Establish a heat stress training program to educate your employees about the hazards of heat stress, responsibility for taking measures to prevent  heat stress, the dangers of drugs and alcohol in hot work environments, how to recognize signs and symptoms on yourself and your co-workers, first aid procedures, and the use of Personal Protective Equipment during hot conditions.
    • Schedule work, especially labor intensive tasks, for the cooler parts of the day
    • Acclimatize your workers to longer periods of work in the heat, especially for new employees that are not used to working outside in such extreme elements.
    • Reduce the physical demands of workers such as excessive lifting or digging with heavy objects. Provide additional machinery or assign extra crews to the job.
    • Provide cold water or liquids to workers
    • Remind workers to drink small amounts of water before they become thirsty to maintain hydrated
    • Schedule frequent rest periods with water in shaded locations, or in an air-conditioned building.
    • Workers required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), particularly semi-permeable or impermeable clothing (Tyvek or Rubber), should be closely monitored when the outside temperature exceeds 70\’b0F and when performing labor intensive tasks.
    • Don\’92t send home or leave unattended a worker with symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, this should not be done unless a physician approves the worker is ok.

Steps Employees Should take to Avoid Heat Stress

    • Drink plenty of water plenty of water frequently, roughly one cup every 15 minutes to never become thirsty.
    • Avoid beverages containing caffeine and sugar, and alcoholic beverages
    • Eat salty snacks to replenish sodium in your body
    • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing such as cotton which is very breathable
    • Gradually build up to heavy work, and schedule heavy work in the morning or evening when its coolest
    • Take more breaks in extreme heat and humidity in a shaded, cooler area if possible
    • Recognize the signs and symptoms of heat stress in yourself and coworkers. If you suspect a co-worker is suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, call 911 and notify your supervisor immediately.
    • Be aware that certain medical conditions and medications make people more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, poor physical shape, and anti-inflammatory medications put people at a higher risk.
    • Be aware that PPE may increase the risk of heat stress

This week let\’92s all take measures to keep ourselves and our employees safe on the job in this extreme heat.

For more information on the risks of heat stress, please visit the following links:

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/

http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_Hurricane_Facts/heat_stress.pdf

http://www.cpwr.com/hazpdfs/hazheat.pdf

https://www.landcarenetwork.org/riskmgmt/ssense/May09.pdf