Protecting Construction Workers Against Extreme Temperatures
Between 2011 and 2019, there were 344 worker-related deaths caused by environmental heat exposure, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s widely thought, however, that this number is an underrepresentation, not inclusive of worker deaths due to conditions like heart attack, which can be brought on or exacerbated by unsafe heat conditions.
In the three years since this data was recorded, we’ve seen record-shattering temperatures around the globe. Over the past year, for instance, 67 all-time high-temperature records have been broken across the U.S.; globally, 230 such records have been broken over that same time period. As temperatures continue to rise, it’s reasonable to expect the number of heat-related worker deaths, injuries and illnesses to rise as well.
While these extreme temperatures continue to impact the health and safety of workers across geographies and industries, the global construction industry is particularly vulnerable to the effects of unprecedented heat. Construction workers are required to engage in hard, physical labor outdoors and often work longer hours during the year’s hottest months due to the increased hours of daylight. The combination of record-breaking heat, physical labor and long hours puts construction workers in significant danger.
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