Construction workers are particularly susceptible to heat-related illnesses due to the nature of their work, which often involves physical exertion and exposure to outdoor elements. Several personal risk factors specific to construction workers contribute to the development of heat illness in this population. During these times of record heat in Florida it’s especially important to know how to keep safe. These factors can include:
- Construction work often involves strenuous physical activities, such as lifting heavy objects, digging, and carrying materials. This level of exertion generates heat in the body, making it harder to regulate internal temperature.
- Construction workers are required to wear protective clothing and gear, which can include hard hats, high-visibility vests, gloves, and steel-toed boots. While these items offer protection, they can also limit the body’s ability to dissipate heat, especially in hot and humid conditions.
- Construction sites may lack adequate shade and rest areas where workers can take breaks and cool down. Continuous exposure to direct sunlight without proper opportunities to rest can increase the risk of heat illness.
- Construction workers may not have easy access to drinking water on the job site, and they might be hesitant to take frequent breaks due to work demands. This can lead to dehydration, which impairs the body’s ability to regulate temperature.
- Workers who are new to a construction job site or who have not been working regularly in hot conditions might not be acclimatized to the heat. This lack of adaptation can increase their vulnerability to heat illness.
- Extended work shifts, especially in high heat conditions, can lead to cumulative heat stress and increase the risk of heat-related illnesses.
- Some construction workers may not be adequately informed about the risks of heat illness or the preventive measures they should take. Proper training and education can help them recognize the signs of heat-related problems and know when to seek help.
- Older construction workers and those who are not physically fit might struggle to regulate their body temperature effectively, increasing their susceptibility to heat illness.
- Pre-existing medical conditions, such as heart problems or respiratory issues, can make construction workers more vulnerable to heat stress.
- Substance abuse, including alcohol and certain drugs, can impair judgment, affect hydration, and increase the risk of heat illness.
- Workers from different cultural backgrounds may have different perceptions of heat risk and may be less likely to express discomfort or request breaks.
To mitigate these personal risk factors, Complete General Contracting Group prioritizes the health and safety of our workers by implementing heat illness prevention strategies. These strategies may include providing access to drinking water, scheduling frequent breaks in shaded areas, educating workers about heat illness prevention, encouraging gradual acclimatization, and revising work practices to minimize physical exertion during the hottest parts of the day. We aim to be sure all of our workers are safe and have a full time safety advisor.