As heat waves move across wide areas of the United States, it is important for home builders and general contractors to have plans and resources in place to keep workers and subcontractors safe on the jobsite.
OSHA has also announced that it has begun a rulemaking on “heat injury and illness prevention” that may result in a new standard for construction. Although NAHB and its partners in the Construction Industry Safety Coalition are actively engaged in the process, home builders should be prepared for more stringent requirements in the near future.
NAHB has numerous resources available to residential construction professionals to help protect workers from excessive heat, including the video below and accompanying handout.
With such extreme early season heat, many workers will suffer from a lack of acclimatization, meaning their bodies simply are not yet accustomed to high heat. During this dangerous time, the most serious heat illness is heat stroke. Symptoms of heat stroke include:
- Confusion, disorientation, slurred speech, unable to think clearly, collapse, unconsciousness or potential seizures.
- No sweating.
If a worker is experiencing heat stroke, cool them immediately and call 911.
More tips to keep workers safe on the jobsite can be found in the NAHB Heat Stress Safety Toolkit.