While many might be packing the car for beach day trips or other summer activities, construction workers face dangerous conditions while working in the sun. The heat from the rising temperatures of summer poses a real and imminent threat to the safety of those working outdoors.
Construction sites pose threats on their own, without the added degrees of the sun. Typically, construction workers face slip and falls, falling debris, scaffolding injuries, and other risks made worse by working at greater heights than most other occupations. Heat stress is among the biggest concerns as temperatures rise, with heat sickening thousands each year and claiming the lives of more than 30 workers annually.
The best way to beat the heat is by proper precaution. Heat stress can cause rashes and cramps, but can become as serious as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Conditions that can heighten the risk of these conditions include:
- High temperatures
- Direct sunlight exposure
- Heavy physical labor
- Waterproof clothing
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
- Vomiting or upset stomach
- Moist skin
Symptoms of heat stroke include:
- Fainting or loss of consciousness
- Dry, hot skin that has no sweat
If a worker displays any of the signs of either heat exhaustion or stroke, the worker should take a break from the sun immediately. Coworkers or employers should call 9-1-1 and wipe the worker’s skin with cool water and fan them with cardboard or other material while their clothing is loosened to bring down their temperature. Be aware that guzzling a large amount of water can lead to nausea and worsened condition for the worker
While knowing how to treat heat illnesses is important, prevention is the best course of action. Some precautions against heat difficulties include:
- Regular rest breaks in shaded spots.
- Gradual acclimation to heat, with longer periods of exposure over a five-day period can help ease workers into the hot conditions.
- Schedule the heaviest work for the coolest parts of the day.
- If working during the hottest part of the day is unavoidable, try to rotate workers to provide longer break time in the shade.
- Assign as much work as possible in cooler areas, such as a shaded area.
- Have workers wear lightweight, light-color clothing whenever possible.
- Provide additional breaks for those working in protective clothing.
- Provide cool water every 15 minutes, about five to seven ounces, to avoid dehydration or over-hydration.
Extreme heat is considered to be over 10 degrees higher than the average high for the region, and working during those times can be unavoidable. However, with proper planning and scheduling, it does not have to be dangerous. Ensure your workers are properly trained in how to hydrate and use precaution against heat exhaustion and heat stroke, along with how to identify the symptoms, to keep the entire crew safe from a construction accident.
Philadelphia Construction Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Understand the Dangers Construction Workers Face While on the Job
Construction workers face different dangers when compared to other occupations. If you or someone you love has been injured on the job due to working in the heat without proper precautions from your employer, you may be entitled to compensation. Our team of Philadelphia construction accident lawyers at DiTomaso Law will review the facts of your case and work to determine the best course of action for each individual case. Call 215-426-4493 or contact us online today to find out how we can help.