Assessing Heat Stress and Health in Construction Workers

The Florida sun can be brutal, and those who work outside all day under its violent rays could be at risk of heat-related illnesses such as heat stress.

Construction workers, particularly roofers and road construction workers, are at a high risk of this because their job requires them to work hard outdoors in brutal temperatures with little or no access to shade or water. In fact, studies have shown that in the U.S., construction workers are 13 times more likely to die from a heat-related illness compared to workers in other industries. Which is why we at Safety Solutions & Supply want to share with you some variables that play into these illnesses and preventive measures/protection policies that are in place to keep your employees safe.

Know What You’re Dealing With

Different factors that play into these heat-related illnesses are temperature, humidity, wind, clothing, shade, heavy workloads, and even personal protective equipment. There are two primary sources of heat for workers: (1) the environmental conditions in which they work, and (2) the internal heat generated by physical labor.

Heat-related illnesses occur when the body is not able to lose enough heat to balance the heat generated by physical work and external heat sources. Weather conditions are the primary external heat sources for outdoor workers.

Even though there are not many enforceable policies to protect construction workers from the risk of a heat related illness, there are several educational campaigns to bring awareness to protective measures that can be taken. One protected step to take is to limit work hours. You can also make rest breaks a requirement.

Under the OSH Act from OSHA, employers have a duty to protect workers from recognized serious hazards in the workplace, including heat-related hazards.

How You Can Keep Employees Safe From the Heat

  • Alert workers of high-risk conditions
  • Actively encourage workers to drink plenty of water
  • Limit physical exertion
  • Have a knowledgeable person at the worksite who is well-informed about heat-related illness and able to determine appropriate work/rest schedules
  • Establish and enforce work/rest schedules, adjusting work activities
  • Use cooling techniques
  • Communicate with workers at all times

By doing these things, you will be able to protect your employees from any heat related injury.

If you have questions, feel free to contact our team here at Safety Solutions & Supply or give us a call today at 866-537-2262 for more information.

Safety Solutions & Supply
314 E. Canal St. (State Road 60)
Mulberry, Florida 33860
Email: [email protected]

Posted in Safety.