The summer is a dangerous season for construction workers in New Jersey and across the U.S. Ultimately, it's up to employers to help identify and mitigate the hazards. The following are five of the leading hazards along with tips for addressing them.
The first two are fatigue and heat-related illness. The latter can include conditions like heat rash and heatstroke. For starters, employers should provide hydrating fluids and mandate rest breaks in the shade. In addition, salty snacks benefit employees by making up for the sodium they lose through their sweat.
Dehydration is the third leading hazard. While water is the best hydrating fluid, employers may want to set out electrolytic beverages or add lemon to the water to encourage more to drink it. Fourth, there is the danger of sun exposure. Hats and sunscreen are the answer to this. Workers with fair skin should check regularly for abnormal moles and spots. Canopies and umbrellas over a job site will also provide protection.
Roadside construction zones can be a perilous place during the summer. Every year, there are nearly 100 worker deaths and over 20,000 injuries in construction zones, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Barriers, reduced speed limits and the right training are all essential to making these areas safer.
Employees who suffer an injury may be able to take advantage of the workers' compensation program. The benefits could cover medical expenses and pay out a portion of their lost wages. To be eligible, victims do not need to show that anyone was negligent. However, they may have to file an appeal if the employer denies payment. This is where legal representation may come in handy. A lawyer could assist with the appeal.