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Beating the heat: Common construction accidents in the summer

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2024 | Construction Accidents

Summer in New York brings risks for construction workers. The heat can cause various hazards that impact productivity and increase the risk of accidents. Understanding these risks is crucial. It ensures the safety of construction workers in the hotter months.

Types of heat-related construction accidents

Several common construction accidents can occur as a result of the summer heat.

The most common forms of heat-related illnesses are heatstroke and heat exhaustion. Heatstroke occurs when the body can no longer regulate its temperature, and it can be fatal if not treated. Symptoms include confusion, altered mental states, and loss of consciousness. Heat exhaustion is less severe, but it can greatly impair physical and mental abilities, leading to accidents.

Another danger for construction workers is dehydration. Not drinking enough on hot summer days can make workers less alert and more susceptible to accidents.

Additionally, falls and equipment operation errors are more common. Sweaty palms, dizziness, or fainting from heat exhaustion can make falls from scaffolding, ladders, and heights more likely. Sweaty hands can also cause workers’ hands to slip off controls or handles, leading to the mishandling of machinery or tools.

Preventative measures for summer safety

To mitigate these risks, employers must implement comprehensive heat safety protocols. Ensuring that workers take frequent breaks and hydrate can prevent heat stroke and dehydration.

Additionally, employers can take several steps to prevent issues. They should provide or encourage the wearing of light-colored, loose, and breathable clothing, which helps regulate body temperature. Employers should also provide comprehensive education for workers on signs of heat-related illness and the importance of prevention. 

Finally, work leads should schedule the most demanding tasks for cooler times of the day whenever possible.

Legal protections and worker rights 

New York law gives construction workers specific rights, like the right to a safe workplace. These rights protect them from unsafe conditions. By law, employers must provide a safe work environment.

Injuries from heat-related accidents are typically eligible for workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation can cover medical expenses and a portion of the worker’s wages during recovery.

In the event of an injury caused by negligence in addressing heat risks, workers may have the right to pursue legal recourse.

Staying safe and productive

As temperatures rise, so does the risk of construction accidents related to the heat. Together, work leads and workers can improve the conditions of their workplace and prevent hazards during the summer.


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