Few workers in the metro Atlanta region are exposed to such difficult working conditions during the summer as construction crews. Those conditions are likely to become more challenging as the temperatures soar and as road and residential construction activity rises across the state.
With daytime temperatures already above 90 degrees, construction workers may experience such heat exposure symptoms as fatigue, disorientation and distraction. High heat also can cause workers to lose their concentration, which can be especially dangerous for those working with nail guns or other hand tools. A fatigued, dehydrated worker who is operating a crane can easily make a deadly workplace error.
Construction safety experts recommend regular hydration using water. Construction workers can add electrolyte salts to their drinking water but avoid drinking energy drinks, carbonated sodas and colas.
In the heat, your body is much more likely to slow down after lunch. Workers should eat a light lunch. Heavier lunches may lead to tardiness and drowsiness, which can increase the risk of an accident.
Worker clothing should be as light and absorbent as possible to avoid excessive perspiration and loss of fluids.
Employers should monitor temperatures and consider rescheduling shifts when temperatures become unbearable. Morning shifts can be set for an early starting time to reduce the risk of heat exposure injuries.
Michael Parsons is an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer representing injured workers in the metro Atlanta region and helping them recover the workers’ compensation benefits that they have earned.