How to Keep Lawn Care Employees Healthy in the Heat

Published on June 5, 2018


No, those aren’t the winning Powerball numbers.

That’s the temperature in Richardson, TX this week.

It’s not just hot. It’s fry an egg on your dashboard hot.

Weather like this is great for the beach, but it can be brutal for anyone out running lawn care routes during the hottest time of the day (9am-3pm). You’re sweating out water as fast as you can drink it!

While you won’t be able to completely beat the heat, you can definitely take measures to at least SURVIVE the summer.

Here’s how you can deal with the summer heat and make sure your best employees are equipped for the long, hot days ahead...

How to Stay Hydrated while Working Outside

Always keep insulated tumblers with you! Water will be your lifesaver this summer.

  • Invest in a Yeti, Rtic, or Thermos stainless steel large tumbler. They are known to keep drinks cold and ice fresh for hours on end.
  • Keep a cooler with ice, water, and Gatorade in the truck.
  • Drink every 15 minutes when the weather is at its hottest.
  • Avoid large amounts of caffeine.

I know many of us need our morning jolt to wake us up, but try to keep the caffeine to a minimum throughout the day.

How can you tell if you're dehydrated?

Here are a few signs of dehydration:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Less frequent urination
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion

How to Keep Cool All Summer Long

Cooling off quickly between lawn care jobs is the key to beating the heat.

  • Use cooling neck wraps throughout the day to keep the heat off your neck and back. You can keep a few in the cooler and exchange them out as the day goes on.
  • Wear light colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Long-sleeved uniforms are the way to go to beat the heat and sun. The sleeves will protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, so take that into consideration.
  • Look into shirts that have moisture-wicking and UV-protection built into them.
  • Stay in the shade on your breaks and don’t eat your lunch in a hot truck. If you can’t go sit inside the AC somewhere, at least go sit in the shade.
  • Consider investing in a few misting bucket fans. They are portable, battery powered, and will last several hours.

How to Protect Your Lawn Care Employees from the Sun's Harmful Rays

Yes, it’s true. You really 

do need to protect yourself from the sun. Not only will it cool you down, it may also prevent all sorts of sun-related problems from happening over the course of time - and it’s never too late to start!

Choose a sunscreen with a minimum of 30 SPF that doesn’t wear off when you sweat. Cover your…

  • Face/Neck/Tip of your nose
  • Arms/Legs
  • Tops of your ears
  • Sporting a shaved head or bald spot these days? Be sure to cover that, too.
  • Find sunglasses that have 100% UV-ray protection.
  • Wide-brim hats are the choice of most lawn care professionals vs. baseball hats. The wider brim helps protect you from the sun’s rays while the hats are usually more vented than a baseball cap.

How to Avoid Heatstroke

Most of all, listen to your body.

If you exhibit any signs of heatstroke, immediately slow down and cool yourself off.

Learn the signs and what you should do while you’re waiting for emergency personnel to get there if you’re experiencing heatstroke.

The 8 Deadly Signs of Heatstroke

According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, signs you may be experiencing heatstroke include:

  • High body temperature. A core body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher, obtained with a rectal thermometer, is the main sign of heatstroke.
  • Altered mental state or behavior. Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, delirium, seizures and coma can all result from heatstroke.
  • Alteration in sweating. In heatstroke brought on by hot weather, your skin will feel hot and dry to the touch. However, in heatstroke brought on by strenuous exercise, your skin may feel dry or slightly moist.
  • Nausea and vomiting. You may feel sick to your stomach or vomit.
  • Flushed skin. Your skin may turn red as your body temperature increases.
  • Rapid breathing. Your breathing may become rapid and shallow.
  • Racing heart rate. Your pulse may significantly increase because heat stress places a tremendous burden on your heart to help cool your body.
  • Headache. Your head may throb.

When to Call for Help

If you’re out in the field and think you or your employees are having heatstroke, don’t mess around. Call 911 and seek immediate medical help.

In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to assist them while you’re waiting for medical staff to get there:

  • Get them indoors or at least into the shade.
  • Remove excess clothing.
  • Cool the person with whatever means available — put in a cool tub of water or a cool shower, spray with a garden hose, sponge with cool water, fan while misting with cool water, or place ice packs or cold, wet towels on the person's head, neck, armpits and groin.

Visit the Mayo Clinic’s website for more info on heatstroke.

Be the Lawn Care Boss Everyone Respects

Everyone loves a boss who looks out for their employees’ well-being.

That should be no different during the summer. As a matter of fact, you need to be extra vigilant when it comes to taking care of your employees during the summer months.

In addition to the ideas above, here are some more rock star ideas you can do to help your team beat the heat:

  • Provide each team a company cooler filled with ice, drinks, fruit, and sunscreen
  • Keep the AC in company vehicles charged up
  • Give each employee a company shirt and hat… or even a Yeti with your logo on it!
  • Schedule your routes earlier in the morning on 100+ degree days
  • Conduct a mandatory heat stroke prevention training for all lawn care employees. For more info on how to conduct a team building event like this, click here.

One final note… the best way to beat the heat this summer is HYDRATION.

Lawns aren’t the only things that need water.

Water is your BEST FRIEND. Seriously.

Related: Motivate Lawn Care Employees All Year Long

Lisa Marino

Lisa Marino is the Sr. Marketing Director for Service Autopilot. She uses her 17+ years in direct marketing, sales, and product development to push entrepreneurs beyond their limits. She's passionate about helping others grow their businesses through time-tested marketing techniques. When not writing, you can find her belting out a mean Stevie Nicks at a local karaoke night.


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