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Heat Stress and Construction: Top Ways to Ensure Worker Safety

Even though summer is winding down doesn’t mean the temperatures will be dropping anytime soon. In Texas, extreme heat sticks around for a little longer and it can cause issues for those working long hours in the hot sun doing construction work or manual labor. It is important that companies and workers are properly educated on heat stress to properly ensure their worker’s safety.

Staying Safe from Heat Stress

Heat-related illnesses affect thousands of people and kill more than 15 people in the construction industry each year. Heat can make anyone sick, but for those who are overweight, have high blood pressure, or those on certain prescriptions and over-the-counter medications are even more at risk. By understanding the causes and symptoms of heat stress, the number of people affected by heat stress can be drastically reduced. Click To Tweet

Causes of Heat Stress

Construction laborers are at particular risk of heat-related illness because they work in high temperatures and humidities, and are at many times, exposed to direct sun. Construction workers are also involved in heavy physical labor and typically wear a lot of heavy, protective clothing that also heats them up.

Symptoms of Heat Stress

Heat stress causes a host of negative conditions and illnesses that can range from cramping, mild heat exhaustion, irritability and headaches to confusion, loss of consciousness, heat stroke or even death. If a worker ceases to sweat and begins to feel cold, it is imperative that health measures are taken to prevent worsening.

Ensuring Worker Safety from Extreme Heat

Employers can do a lot to help ensure worker safety in the extreme heat. Here are some important precautions that need to be implemented in order to protect workers from excessive heat:

  • Require rest breaks in shaded and cool areas. Air-conditioned spaces or areas with fans can help cool workers down.
  • Provide cool water to drink and encourage workers to drink five to seven ounces every 15-20 minutes.
  • When possible, assign work to be done in the shade until the temperatures cool off a bit.
  • Schedule the heavy work during the cooler part of the day.
  • Suggest that workers wear lighter colored clothes in lightweight fabrics.
  • Give additional breaks to workers wearing protective clothing.
  • Have workers occasionally check their heart rates and temperatures.

Heat Stress on the Construction Site

Precautions must be taken by the employees and employers when it comes to staying safe in working in hot environments. With proper education and setting up guidelines for working in the heat, you can help your workers avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and other heat issues that plague those at greater risk.

Contact us to learn more about heat stress in the construction industry, or browse our dewatering products for your next project.