According to the U.S. Department of Labor and OSHA, between 2008 and 2014, 109 heat facilities have been recorded in the U.S. and in just 2014, 2, 630 workers have suffered heat illness. BUILDER contributor Jen A. Miller writes on ways that employers can protect their workers and what to watch out for on jobsites as the mercury continues to rise.
As Miller writes,
"Just because OSHA doesn’t have a regulation specific to heat stress doesn’t mean contractors are off the hook, says Ed Beaulieu, director of field operations for New Jersey–based Safegate Safety Solutions. 'They still expect you to protect your employees,' he notes. 'You can’t use ‘there is no standard’ as a excuse.'
Along with OSHA’s recommendations, Beaulieu suggests altering work hours, if possible, so workers are not in the sun during the hottest part of the day. That practice might run afoul of local noise ordinances, especially in congested areas, but it can work on some sites. Contractors also can ensure workers take enough breaks and, especially on sites without shade, provide 'a cooling area with a tent set up so that they can get out of the sun,' Beaulieu says. Adding fans, either regular or misting, in those areas can help, too."