Working in construction comes with its own risks, and most construction workers know this and do what they can to keep themselves safe. Due to an increase in safety protocols over recent years, companies are expected to do their part to avoid construction accidents and keep their workers safe.
Construction accidents do happen, and many of them occur during the summer months. We will touch on why that is the case, what construction workers can do to stay safe, and what construction workers’ rights are. What should workers expect in terms of safety measures being taken by the company they work for? Let’s get into it!
Construction Accidents and Summer
Summer often brings great weather and the ability to work longer hours because of the longer days. While this can be nice, these benefits can hit extremes like dangerous temperatures, and severe fatigue from being overworked. Some of the biggest safety concerns in summer include:
- Heat exhaustion and heat stroke– Extremely hot temperatures are tough on the body as it overheats and is unable to cool itself. Heat stroke can lead to permanent damage to the heart and kidneys as well as deliver horrible symptoms of vomiting, fevers, chills, and even confusion.
It’s important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke so that immediate attention can be given to those affected. If not, the condition could worsen, and the damage could be irreversible.
- Sunburns – Being exposed to the incredibly hot sun during the summer months can cause serious burns and even make the skin blister if it’s bad enough. Sun exposure can obviously result in heat exhaustion and heat stroke but also contribute to dehydration.
- Dehydration – Working in extreme heat can cause several problems, as we’ve discussed, but one of the worst issues you may experience is dehydration. When you’re hot, you sweat. And if you’re not drinking enough fluids to replace what you’re losing, you can become dehydrated quickly. Some signs of dehydration include vomiting and diarrhea. When you’re dehydrated, you don’t think clearly and are unable to perform tasks in the way that they need to be done, so injuries can occur quite easily.
- Car accidents – Nice weather brings out more people on the roads. Construction workers often travel the roadways from job to job, and when those roads are busier than usual, accidents can occur. Add in those drivers on vacation, driving in unfamiliar areas, and the likelihood of a car wreck increases tremendously.
- Fatigue – Who doesn’t get tired after working long days in the heat? Reaction times decrease, and chances of mis-stepping or acting carelessly increase.
- Slip and falls – It has been shown that construction workers slip more in the summer. Those summer rainstorms can take workers by surprise and make everything slippery.
Of course, many of these injuries and accidents can happen any time of year but the illnesses and accidents that can happen from the extreme heat are usually limited to the summertime.
Who’s to Blame for Summer Construction Accidents?
Depending on the construction accident, many different people could be to blame. If safety was not ensured by the construction company, and somebody was hurt because of it, the company could be at fault or even the site supervisor/manager. The same goes for situation where the company fails to provide training or information to their workers about how to protect themselves during high-heat situations.
If a company provides training and construction workers voluntarily go against that training or do not use the safety measures provided, then the construction worker could be liable for their own injuries or damages that may occur due to an accident.
Protecting Against Construction Accidents This Summer
The hot summer months bring safety concerns for all of us, especially construction workers. There are ways that you can help protect yourself or your employees from the heat and associated illnesses and injuries. Some of these tips for staying safe include:
- Working in the early morning hours or later evening hours to avoid the hottest part of the day. Afternoon breaks are essential to keeping cool during the summer.
- Staying hydrated by intentionally drinking bottles of water throughout the day. Drinking things like caffeinated sodas and alcoholic beverages will only work against you when it comes to hydrating your body. Choose water, if at all possible, as often as you can.
- Be mindful of how you dress for the workday. Wear a hat to protect your head, face, and neck. Choose a lightweight shirt that has long sleeves to keep your arms from being burned as well as long pants to protect your legs. Don’t forget about applying sunscreen before the day begins.
- Take regular breaks to drink water and rest for a few minutes out of the sun. If you can, get to bed at a good hour each night so that you can get enough sleep for work the next day. When you work construction, you must stay alert to avoid construction accidents.
- Pace yourself. Especially at the beginning of the season, your body needs to acclimate to working in higher temperatures. By pacing yourself and knowing where your limits are, you can protect yourself from getting hurt.
Legal Help in the Event of an Accident
As a construction worker, you have the right to work in a safe environment where your well-being is a priority. If you feel your employer is not concerned with your safety, you should talk to them and discuss your concerns. It could be a good idea to seek legal counsel beforehand so that you have the information and the law to back you up.
If you are injured in construction accidents on the job, contact Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier & Warshauer, L.L.C. to help advocate for you and your fellow construction workers. You deserve to be safe and to work for employers that help provide that safety. Give us a call at (504) 522-2304.