Those employed in certain industries, such as those that involve physical labor, face a certain risk for injury every time they go to work. In addition to the risk for an injury due to an accident, construction workers also face certain risks for heat-related injuries during the summer. It is critical for employers and contractors to provide their employees with the tools necessary to stay safe during the hottest months of the year, especially those who work outdoors.
The risk of heat illnesses is not something to take lightly. Becoming overheated can lead to serious health effects, and if you suffer from this type of illness, you could find yourself struggling with serious issues that may affect your ability to work. With the right preparation and tools, you can avoid heat-related illness and do your job with a reasonable expectation of safety.
Heat and construction work
Construction work is a physically risky endeavor, especially in the summer when there is the added element of working outdoors in elevated temperatures. Some of the heat risks common on construction sites include:
- Heat exhaustion — This is a less-severe version of a heat stroke. Symptoms can include goosebumps, headache, cool skin, fatigue, nausea, pulse alteration and low blood pressure. Left untreated, heat exhaustion could turn into a heat stroke.
- Heat stroke — This happens when the body overheats to the point where it can no longer cool itself. This may lead to damage to the heart, kidney and other organs. Symptoms include confusion, fever, vomiting, rapid heart rate and red skin.
There are basic steps all employers and third parties can take to ensure construction workers are safe. First, it is important to build awareness around how to work safely in the heat and how to recognize signs of a heat-related illness. It is also critical to provide adequate water, allow for regular breaks and provide alternate scheduling that allows workers to avoid the hottest parts of the day.
What happens if you become sick?
If you become ill while working outdoors on a construction site, you have the right to seek the financial support required for your recovery. It is possible a third party contractor or other party is responsible for the job requirements that led to your illness. In this case, it would be appropriate to seek compensation through a civil claim against the responsible parties.