The heat of summer puts construction workers in Connecticut and across the U.S. in danger. First, there is the risk of fatigue, which can lead to workers being inattentive and making bad judgments. Second, there is the possibility of developing a heat-related illness like heat rash or even heat stroke. Two other risks are dehydration and complications arising from overlong exposure to the sun.
Employers should know how to manage these risks. First, it's important to supply lots of water and, if possible, electrolytic beverages like sports drinks. Next, employers should give frequent breaks and designate a shady spot for them.
To address the problem of heat-related illnesses, employers must train workers on how to identify the symptoms. If a task is physically demanding, employers can cycle workers in and out. To begin with, they might minimize the number of arduous tasks when temperatures and humidity levels are high. Hats and sunscreen are essential protection against the sun. Personal protective equipment should be right for the job and not burdensome.
A fifth hazard is not necessarily summer-related but is nonetheless significant: injuries in roadside construction zones. Fighting this begins with surrounding the zone with barriers, having workers wear safety vests and posting reduced speed limit signs.
Even the most diligent employers cannot prevent all injuries on the job. Fortunately for victims, there is the possibility of reimbursement under workers' compensation law. No one's negligence needs to be proven, but victims may need to defend themselves against the counterclaim that they were to blame for their own injuries. This is where having legal representation may be to their advantage. A lawyer may help file the appeal so that victims receive wage replacement and coverage for medical costs.
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