What are some ways to prevent heat-related injuries on construction sites?
Construction Accident - July 18, 2022
Construction workers, especially those working on roads, roofing, or other outdoor work are at an increased risk of heat-related injuries compared to workers in other industries. Nearly 4 in 10 heat-related work deaths happen in the construction industry.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) notes that the majority of outdoor fatalities, some 50-70%, happen in the first few days of working in warm or hot environments because the body hasn’t yet acclimated to the heat. The failure to provide adequate opportunity for acclimatization represents a major risk factor in these fatal results.
If you were injured on a construction site, a Chicago construction accident lawyer from Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates can help ensure that you recover the full amount in compensation that you are entitled to. Continue reading to learn how to help prevent heat-related injuries, and how an attorney can help if you’re injured on a construction site.
5 ways to prevent heat-related injuries
The importance of trying to prevent heat-related injuries is the responsibility of the individual construction worker and management. OSHA notes that heat-related illnesses and deaths can be effectively prevented “with management committed to providing the most effective controls”, and includes heat-illness prevention as a part of a larger health and safety program.
Here are five tips to help you prevent heat-related illness while on the construction job. Keep in mind that your employer should be providing many of these precautions as part of their health and safety plan.
Drink plenty of clear fluids
One of the main preventable heat illness risk factors is not drinking enough fluids. When someone is dehydrated, a variety of heat-related risks emerge, and injury can result. To help prevent heat-related illness, it’s essential to consume liquids that are beneficial to your body, namely water.
Caffeine and sugary drinks should be avoided because caffeine and sugar can contribute to an increase in body temperature, so it’s best to stick with clear fluids or other low-sugar hydration-focused drinks.
Wear sunscreen and protective gear
Another preventable heat injury that can be addressed through preventative measures is sun exposure. Mild sun exposure absent protective equipment can lead to first degree burns. Ongoing exposure can lead to more substantial burns and even skin cancer. To prevent the harmful effects of over-exposure to the sun, using sunscreen and wearing protective clothing is important. It’s fair to ask your employer to provide these sun protection measures.
Keep yourself cool
There is a tender balance when it comes to clothing while working in the sun. Too little clothing can lead to excessive exposure to the sun, and pose the risk of skin-related injuries. Too much clothing runs the risk of overheating the body faster by retaining heat.
The most effective way to keep yourself cool and protected from the elements is by wearing long-sleeved, loose-fitting clothing made of breathable fabric like cotton. Loose fitting clothing helps to wick moisture away from the skin, while the breathability allows air in, allowing the body to cool. While wet fabric might not be desirable, a slight breeze on wet fabric can also have a helpful cooling effect.
Monitor yourself and your heartbeat
One of the best preventative measures you can employ to prevent injury in any environment is to be aware of how your body feels and of your heartbeat. When it’s very hot outside, your heart will beat faster and pump harder to try and radiate heat to cool you down. Or you’ll start sweating a lot, which leads to depletion of important minerals.
Both of these effects can lead to strain on the heart, increasing the risk of dizziness, passing out, nausea and vomiting, and weak or rapid pulse.
If you are feeling uncomfortably overheated and your heartbeat is moving at either a fast or abnormally slow pace, you should monitor those symptoms, consume water, and take a break from the sun. Staying mindful of how your body feels can help detect the signs of a pending heat injury early instead of noticing it too late and encountering greater harm.
Look out for your coworkers
As you would hope that your coworkers are keeping a mindful eye on you, the same goes for your coworkers. Heat injuries are sometimes slow moving, and the impacted person might not realize they are moving slower than normal and are experiencing mental effects like confusion or cloudiness. Keeping an eye on your coworkers, and them on you, helps detect heat injuries earlier so that 911 can be called promptly and your supervisors alerted to prevent further injury.
Injured on a construction site? we can help you.
If you have been injured on a construction site, one of the highly-experienced Chicago construction site attorneys from Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates is ready to advocate for your best interests. Your initial assessment is risk-free and cost-free.
To schedule a consultation, visit our site or give us a call at (800) 985-1819. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are standing by to review your case and discuss how we can help you collect what you deserve for your construction injury.