Tips for Working Safely in Extreme Heat

by Aug 30, 2020Safety, Tree Service0 comments

After enjoying a very comfortable spring, and even some periods of relative comfort throughout June and July, the dog days of summer have officially arrived. Here in Northwest Florida, the heat and humidity have been extreme.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (, “workers who are exposed to extreme heat or work in hot environments may be at risk of heat stress.”

Beyond the risk of heat stroke, heat cramps, exhaustion or rashes, consider some of the occupational hazards this presents to those working in the tree service industry, who are regularly operating powerful and potentially dangerous equipment such as chainsaws, lifts, skid steers, bulldozers, tractors, and dump trucks.

Sweaty Palms

When holding a chainsaw, you want to have a firm grasp. Sweaty hands can affect your grip. The slightest slip with such a powerful tool can be disastrous.

Tip: wear gloves, sweatbands on your wrists, and consider wearing a long sleeve shirt made of a moisture wicking, breathable material.

Fogged Up Safety Glasses/Face Shield

Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) is an absolute must in the tree service industry. When operating powerful equipment and cutting trees, limbs, and hauling debris, it is vital to protect your face and eyes with safety glasses or a face shield. However, in extreme temperatures, the sweat mixed with your body heat and your own exhalations can cause such equipment to fog up, impairing your vision. In addition, sweat may cause your eye and face protection to slip which can be dangerous, not to mention annoying.

Tip: Take your time. Don’t allow the gear that is meant to protect you to become a hazard. Take frequent breaks to wipe your sweat, clean your safety glasses or face shield, and cool off in the shade. Allowing yourself to hurry and save a few minutes can prove to be extremely dangerous, even lethal. Even though it can be frustrating, it is better to take the extra time needed to ensure the safety of yourself and others.


Imagine yourself on a lift, 30 feet in the air. Now imagine you are operating a powerful chainsaw. Not only that, but it’s 95 degrees with high humidity, and you are wearing a facemask that is fogging up, and is beginning to slip down your face due to the sweat. If just the thought of being in this position makes you uncomfortable, can you even imagine being in that same position while becoming dizzy?

The CDC lists dizziness as an occupational hazard associated with working in extreme heat. It goes without saying that becoming dizzy while in a situation as described above is extremely dangerous.

Tip: If you become dizzy while operating hazardous equipment, it is imperative that you stop for a break. Even though it is inconvenient to come down from a lift and it will likely add time to the job, you must make a safe, wise decision. Take a break, cool off in the shade, and have a cool drink.


Of all the hazards associated with working in extreme heat, dehydration is probably the most obvious, yet the most likely to affect you. We all tend to think we are drinking enough fluids, even though it seems that every expert recommends drinking a larger amount than we likely drink on a normal day, not to mention a day working in extreme heat and sweating constantly all day long.

What can happen when we become dehydrated? lists the following symptoms as indicators of dehydration:

  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Dry mouth
  • Urinating and sweating less than usual
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Dry skin
  • Feeling tired
  • Dizziness

It’s fairly easy to become dehydrated even during the course of a normal day without exposure to heat and hard labor. According to the website, the average person sweats between 0.8 and 1.4 liters per hour during exercise. Add extreme heat, PPE, length of time, and the physical exertion that comes along with tree work, and you can see how you could quickly become dehydrated.

Tip: Drink plenty of water, frequently throughout the day. To replenish electrolytes, sports drinks such as Gatorade or electrolyte supplements in liquid or powder form can be added to your water intake.

By following the tips outlined here you can lower your risk of heat exhaustion, dehydration, and injuries that may be caused as a result.

You can be assured that at Precision Tree Care & Removal, we take safety extremely seriously. This means we make sure our crew is well hydrated, takes frequent breaks, and uses PPE in the safest way possible.

And remember, for the best tree service in the Live Oak, FL area, give us a call today: (386) 688-5173 or fill out our service contact form.