Seasonal safety: Summer Heat stress Construction Construction

Summer heat can be deadly for construction workers, CPWR cautions


Photo: Terry J Alcorn/iStockphoto

Silver Spring, MD – With summer only days away, the Center for Construction Research and Training – also known as CPWR – has issued a hazard alert about heat risks and precautions workers can take to avoid heat-related illnesses.

Data from CPWR shows that 17 construction workers died in 2015 as a result of heat-related conditions.

Recognizing the signs of heat exhaustion (weakness and wet skin; headache, dizziness and fainting; nausea or vomiting) and heat stroke (confusion or fainting; dry, hot skin and sweating ceases; and convulsions or seizures) among co-workers is vital, the alert states.

From the "First Aid" course offered by the National Safety Council. Learn more about NSC first aid and CPR training – including online and classroom training for learners, and courses and materials for instructors. © 2015 National Safety Council

CPWR offers these tips for working in hot weather:

  • Dress for hot conditions. Wear clothes that are light-colored, loose-fitting and lightweight.
  • Drink water about every 15 minutes. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink.
  • Do not consume alcohol and avoid caffeine.
  • Take frequent breaks. Find shaded, cooled or air-conditioned areas.

The risk for heat-related illnesses is increasing for workers unaccustomed to higher temperatures, those working in hot and humid weather, and those who perform heavy physical labor, according to CPWR.

The hazard alert also includes tips for employers, including having an emergency plan and providing training on heat-related illnesses.

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