heatwaveHeat is a frequently underestimated occupational hazard of the construction industry, according to Pete Stafford, Executive Director of the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR).

“But just because the sun doesn't hit you like a moving vehicle doesn't mean it should be taken lightly,” said Stafford.

According to OSHA, 30 workers die from heat stroke in an average year.

Among the precautions the CPWR recommends avoiding heat-related illness:

  • Go easier for the first week in the heat. 
  • Wear light clothing, and include a shirt that serves as a shield from the sun's rays.
  • Drink water every 15 minutes. Don't wait until you feel thirsty.
  • Plan the day to tackle tougher jobs during the cooler morning hours.
  • Rest in shaded areas or air conditioning, if possible.
  • Finally, watch your colleagues for signs of heat illness -- especially heat stroke! Symptoms of heat stroke include dry, hot skin with no sweating, mental confusion, loss of consciousness, seizures and convulsions. Heat stroke is a medical emergency requiring a 911 call and immediate cooling.

For a toolbox talk on preventing heat illness, visit "Hot Weather" on eLCOSH. Additional information can be found at OSHA's Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers.