Heat poses a risk for Construction Workers

Heat poses a risk for Construction Workers

Heat poses a risk for Construction Workers

Every industry has its own hazards. Construction workers are no exception, but the heat only makes it worse for them; they have to work long hours in high temperatures and this can lead to exhaustion or even death if precautions aren't taken. Construction workers are known to work in grueling and exhausting conditions, even on a foggy day. But with temperatures soaring into the triple digits across much of US this season, construction projects have become nearly impossible for those without adequate equipment or access to shade and even if with, heat drains and renders construction worker to fatigue. 

Construction jobs typically involve manual labor so when you add hot weather into the equation these laborers' workload is multiplied because sweat and exertion results to dehydration and overdoing. The dangers of construction include dehydration due to extreme sweating as well as fatigue induced by a lack of oxygen which could cause health complications like heart attacks, strokes, seizures/convulsions etc.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that 36 deaths and 2,810 heat-related illnesses are reported each year, 40% of these cases happen due to construction work; wherein a worker may be exposed to the sweltering sun at high noon with no shade for relief as they build structures from concrete blocks that release intense heat upon being used during daytime hours on hot summer days along with wearing their baggy and thick personal protective suits and gears which furthers the heat. In addition, a total of 1,061 construction workers were reported dead in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one factor in play is heat exhaustion and heat stroke. These are the injuries that heat may yield when working in a construction: 

  • Overexertion injury - This type of injury is most commonly seen in laborers who have spent too long performing tasks that are beyond their capacity and furthers with the presence of heat and cause the muscles they rely on for movement become fatigued, making it difficult or impossible to continue working normally. It has been found that this condition often leads these workers into a state where the normal functions of muscular contraction cannot be carried out properly, meaning risks such as uncontrolled shaking and inflammation among others may arise if left untreated.
  • Heat Stress and potential Heat Stroke - Exposure to extreme heat can result in occupational illnesses and injuries. Heat stress is a major problem for workers, as it may lead to heat rash or other ailments like dehydration. Workers should take caution when working under these conditions so they don't risk injury due to sweaty hands on the equipment or dizziness from the intense work environment. Untreated and unchecked heat stress could potentially escalate to heat stroke, it occurs when body temperature is body's normal heat tolerance and continuously rising, it renders an individual to experience same effects as heat stress. 

How can Construction Laborers fight these risks?

  • Allow the injured person to rest until his body cools off and has recovered lost bodily fluids. This specifically requires the use of time off by work regulations. 
  • Prioritize hydration as injured person’s muscles require fluid like water to prevent lactic acid build up which causes muscle spasms and aches. It is recommended to bring water bottle in doing activities or working in such conditions. 
  • Providing an injured worker with coolant may help the current condition depending on how serious it is. 
  • Giving correct ventilation by removing his baggy protective equipments and place a fan beside him for air. 
  • Medication like anti-inflamatory and ice may help with bruises and swelling parts to alleviate and settle as a first aid. After these treatments, one may send the patient to nearest hospital for thorough health assessments.
  • For serious injuries, surgery is as well an option on some cases to give swelling parts a space and release tension. 

Given one's situation following a construction accident, fatal construction accidents damages result in costs of approximately $5 billion annually. The numbers are expenses from medical bills and medication, loss of income due to recuperation, and if unfortunate enough, death, would extend financial resposibility as funeral and burial adds up. 

Though it may not contribute in assisting in coping with loss, hiring a lawyer to at least cover financial damage from these extended expenses which will be paid by employer if proven negligent in the field's security and employees safety. People who have been injured in a construction site can feel empowered by contacting Ryan LLP, an Ohio based injury law firm. When they are contacted by these lawyers and their team of professionals, clients will get help from the time when they call to explain what happened through trial proceedings or settlement negotiations. No matter where you live in the country, this is a company worth trusting with your case.


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