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Heat exposure can lead to construction workers' accidents

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has no definite rules related to working in very hot conditions, but employers are responsible for the health and safety of employees. This includes protecting them from excessive heat exposure. One of the first signs of heat illness is dizziness, which can cause devastating construction workers' accidents within in moments.

With recent temperatures in California bordering on triple digits, construction authorities explained that certain jobs cannot be done in extreme temperatures, and others cannot be delayed because of excessive heat. While ice is added when concrete is mixed in California to prevent it from curing too quickly, other processes such as Shotcrete cannot be rescheduled. It is a process of coating steel beams with concrete that is done by a company in another state, and applications are booked many months in advance, leaving companies little choice but to work regardless of the temperature.

Bosses also explained that the location of employees could expose them to excessive heat. For example, a crane operator working in a dated crane without air conditioning will be exposed to many hours of excessive heat, while his or her colleagues doing jobs at ground level are safe. The important issue here is the responsibility of the employer to make sure those workers who cannot be removed from jobs that expose them to heat must be provided with cool drinks and monitored for signs of heat illness constantly to allow immediate action in emergencies.

Victims of construction workers' accidents are entitled to pursue financial assistance through the California workers' compensation system. Medical expenses and lost income are typically covered. If such accidents are fatal, the surviving family members can seek survivors' benefits, which will cover the expenses related to end-of-life arrangements and a portion of lost wages.

Source: pamplinmedia.com, "Construction projects keep pounding away in the heat", Joseph Gallivan, Aug. 2, 2017

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