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The tool belt is the mark of a tradesman, a hard-working person who knows how to get the job done.  Even if you don’t use one at work, chances are you use a tool belt for home maintenance and renovation work.  Using a tool belt correctly will help ensure safety while working. 

Some major do’s and don’ts are:

Tool Belt DO’s
  • DO choose the right belt assembly to keep implements safe and secure
  • DO make sure the tool belt is made of a sturdy material
  • DO keep tools in correct sized pockets, pouches, and slots
  • DO balance the weight of a tool belt so the weight is equal on each side (the average tool belt should weigh 15-20 pounds)
  • DO guard all sharp tools with scabbards or sheaths
Tool Belt DON’TS
  • DON’T pack around excess supplies causing unnecessary weight
  • DON’T use the tool belt as a safety belt when working from heights
  • DON’T hang tool belt on nails, hooks or other protruding objects
  • DON’T wear belt repeatedly causing chronic discomfort and back problems
Carrying tools on a belt keeps hands free for tasks and work; just always make sure to follow the do’s and don’ts of tool belts!


With the approach of warmer weather, the opportunity for dehydration leading to heat disorders in construction workers also increases. Below are symptoms of some of the most common heat disorders to be aware of the temperatures climb. 

Heat Stroke is the most serious heat-related disorder and occurs when the body's temperature regulation fails and body temperature rises to critical levels. It is a medical emergency that can result in death. Be aware of the signs:
  • confusion
  • irrational behavior
  • loss of consciousness
  • convulsions
  • a lack of sweating
  • hot, dry skin
  • abnormally high body temperature
If a worker shows signs of possible heat stroke, professional medical treatment should be obtained immediately. Until professional medical treatment is available, the worker should be placed in a shady, cool area and the outer clothing should be removed. Douse the worker with cool water and circulate air to improve evaporative cooling. Provide the worker fluids (preferably water) as soon as possible.

Heat Exhaustion, another common heat disorder, is only partly due to exhaustion; it is a result of the combination of excessive heat and dehydration. Signs and symptoms include:
  • headache
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • weakness
  • thirst
  • giddiness
Fainting or heat collapse is often associated with heat exhaustion. Workers suffering from heat exhaustion should be removed from the hot environment and given fluid replacement. They should also be encouraged to get adequate
rest, and when possible, ice packs should be applied.

Heat Cramps are usually caused by performing hard physical labor in a hot environment. 

Heat cramps have been attributed to an electrolyte imbalance caused by sweating and are normally caused by the lack of water replenishment. It is imperative that workers in hot environments drink water every 15 to 20 minutes and also drink carbohydrate-electrolyte replacement liquids (e.g., sports drinks) to help minimize physiological disturbances during recovery.

To avoid a heat disorder while performing construction activities, stay hydrated and be alert to the signs of a problem. 

To Minimize Heat-Related Illness
  • Acclimatize workers
  • Have water available to replenish lost fluids
  • Provide cooler, recovery areas should an illness occur
  • Reschedule hot jobs for the cooler part of the day
  • Monitor workers

Personal Protective Equipment Plays a Role Too
Reflective clothing, worn as loosely as possible, can minimize heat stress hazards. Wetted clothing, such as terry cloth coveralls or two-piece, whole-body cotton suits are another simple and inexpensive personal cooling technique. It is effective when reflective or other impermeable protective clothing is worn.

Manufacturers even offer a range of water-cooled garments, such as a hood (which cools only the head) to vests and long johns (partial or complete body cooling). Use of this equipment requires a battery-driven circulating pump, liquid-ice coolant, and a container.

We've all experienced it at some point. Fatigue sets in; your mouth feels dry; your legs are heavy and you may even have a headache. These are all common signs of dehydration.


When you are working hard, body fluid is lost through sweat. If that fluid is not replaced, dehydration and early fatigue are unavoidable. Losing even 2% of body fluids (less than 3.5 pounds in a 180-pound person) can impair performance by increasing fatigue and affecting cognitive skills. During the summer heat it is easy to become dehydrated if you don't drink enough fluids to replace what is lost in sweat. But it is equally important to understand that dehydration happens during the winter as well. 


Prevent Dehydration 

  • When to drink: Ensure you drink before you start working, trying to catch-up for lost fluids after a period of time is very difficult. Also, drink before you get thirsty. By the time you're thirsty you are already dehydrated, so it's important to drink at regular intervals – especially when it is hot outside.
  • What to drink: Water is truly one of the best things to drink. Research also shows that a lightly flavored beverage with a small amount of sodium encourages people to drink enough to stay hydrated. The combination of flavor and electrolytes in a sports drink like Gatorade provides one of the best choices to help you stay properly hydrated.
  • What to avoid: During activity, avoid drinks with high sugar content such as soda and even fruit juices. These are slow to absorb into the body. Also alcohol and caffeinated beverages should be avoided.

Many people ask how much to drink and that depends on your activity level and how much your body is losing fluids. In general, when you are working and sweating, you should drink at least every half-hour.