Creating workplaces where we all watch out for each other

Creating workplaces where we all watch out for each other


Extreme temps not the only factor in construction worker heat illness: study


Photo: Arizona Department of Transportation

Albuquerque, NM — Even moderate outdoor temperatures may put construction workers at increased risk of heat-related illness, a recent study led by a University of New Mexico researcher suggests.

Construction workers are 13 times more likely to suffer fatalities related to heat-related illness than those in the general population, the researchers say. For their study, the researchers analyzed the body temperatures of 32 construction workers over three days in July at a jobsite in Kansas City, MO. Participants ingested a pill that monitored their body temperatures.

Although the outdoor temperature averaged a “relatively moderate” 88° F over the three days, 43% of the workers’ body temperatures reached 100.4° F. NIOSH considers this the threshold for elevated risk of heat stress, a UNM press release states.

Additionally, more than 60% of the workers arrived at the worksite dehydrated.

“The safety of workers depends on the environmental temperature, the intensity of the work, and the clothing and equipment worn,” lead study author Fabiano Amorim, professor of exercise science at UNM, said in the release. “If you are engaged in the hardest job, you produce more heat, and then your body temperature will increase while still getting heat from the environment.

“If you have this combination, your body temperature is going to increase to very, very high values. This is a problem.”

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Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication