Rising temperatures across the U.S. have left many construction workers feeling the heat – literally. In some states like Texas, concerns over potential health problems stemming from heat exhaustion and dehydration are forcing worker safety advocates to act.
Some have argued that area workers may not be receiving adequate rest breaks or water on the job. One Dallas-based worker quit construction due to the extreme heat conditions and concerns that he and fellow workers were falling ill due to lack of adequate breaks.
"It starts with heart palpitations," Amarildo Gonzalez told Fox 4-KDFW. "Other[s] vomited. Many have fainted for lack of hydration."
Gonzalez and workers like him are the focus of an increasingly visible public awareness and safety campaign from the Worker Defense Project – a local group that has urged the City of Dallas to embrace stricter on-site worker safety regulations.
The group has been petitioning the City of Dallas to pass a rest break ordinance, requiring employers to provide a water break every four hours. Additionally, advocates argue that employers should be legally obligated to post signs in English and Spanish explaining these workplace rights.
During the summer months, it's important for contractors to develop safety plans that not only target ways to increase on-site visibility and protection when handling power tools and other pieces of machinery, but also promote personal wellness.
Using personal safety equipment on the job is essential for all workers to reduce the risk of injury or accidents. But when it comes to coping with the effects of extreme heat, workers need to take extra precautions as well. Staying hydrated throughout the day and taking breaks throughout the day to cool off may prevent dehydration, heat stroke and other heat-related medical problems from occurring.