The summer months will bring higher temperatures and more humidity to North Carolina, affecting those who work outdoors. Construction workers may be among those adversely affected by the heat, and it is important to know how to stay safe during the hottest months of the year. Heat safety must be a crucial initiative on various types of construction sites.
Heat stress is a very real threat to your safety and health. While the affects of heat stress may not be visible, they can take a serious toll on you. Construction managers and employers have the responsibility of ensuring their employees are as safe as reasonably possible while working outdoors on various job sites this spring and summer.
The threat for construction employees
Heat stress is a threat for anyone who works in hot environments or faces exposure to high temperatures while working. It can happen due to a combination of physical exertion, clothing and environmental factors. When the body becomes overwhelmed with trying to regulate temperatures and function properly, adverse health events can occur. Heat stress and heat stroke are two risks of working outdoors. Heat stress can include a rash, cramping, and exhaustion and can eventually lead to a heat stroke.
Because construction work is a demanding physical job, workers often generate excess heat in their bodies. Combined with external factors, such as increased humidity and heat, it can lead to detrimental consequences. Heat exposure can lead to sickness, long-term health effects and even death in extreme situations.
Mitigating the risks
Construction workers should have the training and opportunity to protect themselves when working in the heat. Site managers and employers may implement safety measures, such as providing these employees with the opportunity to take breaks indoors or in the shade. They should allow for frequent water breaks and intervals out of the sun. Other ways they can keep workers safe include providing fans, shaded rest areas, cold water and heat safety training.
Did you get sick?
If you became sick from heat stress as a result of your job, it could be grounds for a workers’ compensation claim. If your work led to your illness, there are legal options available to you. Through your claim, you may be able to claim recompense for your medical bills, lost wages from missed work and more. It may be beneficial to review your employer’s procedures for workers’ comp claims and your rights as an injured employee.