It's important for construction workers and their employers in Texas to be aware of the dangers of summer work. Below is a summary of the top five hazards in summer and what can be done to mitigate them. The list was compiled by a representative of Honeywell Industrial Safety.
First, there is heat-related fatigue. Being out in the sun too long can lead to impaired judgment and concentration, slower response times and a lack of motivation. Employers should ensure plenty of rest breaks in the shade, provide hard hats if appropriate and have a good supply of liquids and salty snacks.
Next is heat stress. This is beyond fatigue and includes illnesses like heat stroke and heat rash. The way to avoid this is through the appropriate personal protective equipment and the use of canopies and umbrellas over job sites. Liquids and mandatory breaks are also essential. The third hazard is dehydration. The solution to this is obvious (water), but employers may consider electrolytic beverages since many consider water to be boring.
Fourth, employees should be protected against sun exposure. Shielding the back of the neck and ears is important. Any other exposed skin can benefit from sunscreen. The last hazard is roadside work. High-visibility PPE, barriers, lower speed limits and adequate training will help reduce the risk for injury on the road.
Employers should note that injuries can still occur despite their best efforts at improving workplace safety. If they are not to blame, injured employees cannot file a personal injury claim. However, an injured employee may file a workers' compensation claim. This is where hiring a lawyer can be helpful for the applicant. A worker may wish to schedule a case evaluation before moving forward.