Are There More Construction Injuries during the Summer Months?June 22, 2022
The construction industry gets busier during the summer months for a few reasons. The longer days, warmer temperatures, and available seasonal workers mean more construction work sites during the summer than any other time of the year. More work sites mean more construction injuries during the summer months. Most work injuries happen in June, July, and August, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The summer season presents many risks that cause more construction injuries during those months as well. Many of these involve high temperatures and changing weather patterns, and traffic from more vacationers on the road.
Common Summer Construction Risks
- Heat stroke: This is the most serious heat-related illness and occurs when the body is unable to control its temperature. Body temperature rises to a dangerous level, and the sweating mechanism fails. Symptoms include hot, red skin; accelerated heart rate; dizziness; and loss of consciousness.
- Heat exhaustion: Slightly less severe than heat stroke but still serious, symptoms of heat exhaustion include excessive sweating; cold, pale skin; headache; nausea; and dizziness.
- Dehydration: When construction workers work in high temperatures and fail to drink lots of fluids, they run the risk of dehydration. Symptoms include excessive sweating, diarrhea, and vomiting. Dehydration can lead to serious illness and increases the likelihood of other workplace injuries.
- Fatigue: Working in high temperatures under the sun can cause extreme exhaustion. This is dangerous for construction workers, for if they cannot concentrate or react quickly to a situation, their risk of having an accident increases.
- Sun exposure: Sunburns suffered by construction workers can be serious; it involves painful red skin and, in some cases, blistering of the skin. The more often this occurs, the more a construction worker is a risk for skin cancer. Sun exposure can also increase fatigue and thirst.
- Car accidents: Construction workers usually have jobs on busy roadways during the summer months. The roads are more heavily trafficked in the summer because of vacationers, holiday weekends, summer activities, and altered work schedules. Statistics also show that there are more likely to be impaired and distracted drivers on the road during the summer months. For all these reasons, construction workers are at a greater risk of getting struck by a car while at work during the summer. Construction zones pose an additional danger of car accidents.
- Slip and fall incidents: Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common workplace accidents across all industries, and this holds true for construction workers. During the summer months, construction workers may be required to worker longer hours in high temperatures, creating more opportunities for this kind of accident to happen.
- Eye injuries: Construction workers are exposed to flying debris, bright sunlight, and extreme heat, all of which can cause damage and injuries to the eyes during the summer months.
- Cramps and rashes: Extreme heat can cause muscle spasms, muscle aches, and pain. Heat rashes involves clusters of blisters that typically appear on the neck, chest, groin, and elbow creases.
How Construction Workers Can Prevent Summer Month Injuries
Although the summer months bring certain inevitable hazards, there are ways for construction workers to look out for them while preventing the associated work-related injuries. The following are tips for how construction workers can stay safe during the summer months:
- Drink plenty of fluids: It is essential for construction workers to stay hydrated throughout their shifts. They should bring or be provided with bottles of water or other non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverages to keep in coolers or refrigerated areas, and be sure to drink them often as they work.
- Take steps to fight fatigue: Construction workers should be sure to get enough sleep before their shifts, take regularly scheduled breaks, and avoid working in the direct sun as much as possible. Workplace accidents are more likely to occur when construction workers are fatigued. Because construction workers tend to work longer hours in the summer months, they are more likely to be tired and prone to an accident.
- Avoid excessive sun exposure: Construction workers should always wear sunscreen to exposed areas as part of their routine before daylight shifts in the sun. They also may want to wear hats, as well as lightweight, light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and pants. It is also important for workers to take regular breaks out of the direct sun.
- Know the importance of pacing: It is important for construction workers to know their limits and abilities when it comes to working in the heat. They should work at an even pace and not push themselves. This is especially important for seasonal workers who need to acclimate to working again after a period of time off.
- Watch out for oncoming vehicles: It is crucial for construction workers to stay alert to oncoming traffic, as they can be hit by cars during the summer months. Wearing bright colored clothes or safety vests is necessary to stay visible to drivers who are more likely to be speeding or distracted during the summer. There should also be proper signage in clear view so that motorists are aware of roadwork and the presence of construction workers.
- Talk to your employer: Construction workers should not hesitate to talk to their employers about safety procedures and any measures that are or should be in place. Employers are responsible for providing safe work environments and ensuring workers get frequent breaks from the heat to rest and hydrate.
What to Do if You Are Injured in a Construction Workplace Accident
Unfortunately, construction workplace accidents still happen despite all efforts made by construction workers to look out for seasonal hazards and try to prevent them. The following is a list of what workers should do if they are injured in a construction workplace accident:
- Seek immediate medical attention: Regardless of the severity of the injuries, it is imperative that medical treatment be received as soon as possible after any workplace accident. Not every workplace injury is apparent right away, so it is important to be seen by a medical professional no matter what to get everything documented and checked out.
- Report the workplace accident: It is essential that construction workers report the accident to their employer in case they need to file a Workers’ Compensation claim. Reporting a workplace accident should be done as soon as possible. If a construction worker goes to the hospital after an accident, it is important to report the workplace accident as soon as possible afterwards. Notifying the employer does not have to be in writing and can be given to a direct supervisor, human resources office, or anyone in a position of authority in the workplace.
- Gather evidence: In case there are any questions regarding the accident, construction workers should take pictures of the area and conditions where it occurred, collect contact information from any witnesses to the accident, and get copies of their timecards to demonstrate they were working at the time of the accident.
- Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer: There are many reasons why it is advisable to hire an experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer after being injured in a construction workplace accident. If eligible, construction workers are entitled to receive compensation for medical costs, lost wages, and in some cases, ongoing disability because of workplace injuries or ongoing occupational illness.
It is natural for construction workers to have questions and concerns after suffering a workplace injury and facing the process of filing a Workers’ Compensation claim. Sometimes injured workers worry that if they file a claim, they may get fired or retaliated against in some way. Others may find the process to be overwhelming and complicated.
A dedicated and skilled Worker’s Compensation lawyer will handle every step of the legal process in a timely and efficient manner so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries. The lawyer will also ensure that all parties liable for your injuries are held accountable so that you receive full benefits and compensation.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Injured Workers
If you have been injured in a workplace accident or suffered an occupational illness related to your job, the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton know what it takes to secure the Workers’ Compensation benefits for which you are entitled. Call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
We have offices in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, allowing us to represent clients in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.