Q What should I be on the lookout for this summer to prevent construction site heat illness?
While safety standards have improved considerably when it comes to heat-related illness awareness and prevention, there is still a lot of confusion among workers when it comes to what exactly they need to know. Sure, everyone knows to drink water when the temperatures climb, but what are the biggest risk factors for dangerous (and sometimes fatal) heat illness?
Heat illness is a construction injury that is a frequent occurrence, but is rarely discussed as a workplace injury. In a place like New Jersey, where the summer days are often hot and humid, individuals in the industry are often at great risk of heat illness such as heat stroke. These risks include:
- Hot, humid conditions in direct sun
- Heavy, synthetic clothing or protective gear
- Strenuous activity
As you can see, most of these risk factors can be found every day at a typical worksite. These risks can be mitigated in several ways, many of which may already be available to you: readily-available shade and drinking water, carefully-scheduled shifts, and vigilant monitoring can go a long way in preventing heat illness.
First Aid for Co-Workers With Heat Illness
What happens, however, when you or a coworker suddenly has symptoms of a dangerous heat illness? Symptoms like weakness, dizziness, confusion, or nausea are commonly associated with heat exhaustion, while seizures, lack of sweating, and loss of consciousness may be linked to heat stroke. Would you know what to do if you witnessed a coworker with these symptoms? Start by taking these steps:
- Move the worker to a cooler area.
- Remove outer layers of clothing.
- Apply ice packs.
- Offer water if the individual is able to safely drink.
- If the individual is confused or unresponsive, call 911 immediately.
Heat illness prevention is an important part of workplace safety, and if you have suffered from a heat-related injury or lost a loved one from heat stroke, poor work conditions may have been to blame. Contact my firm today to learn more about the possibility of receiving compensation for your damages; schedule a free consultation now by filling out our short online contact form, or by calling our Morris Plains office at 877-360-0183.