Construction activity spikes from May through September. It’s when a contractor’s work plate is full, particularly with new builds and home renovations. This activity coincides with the hottest months of the year around the country.
Construction workers who work in extreme heat are susceptible to heat-related illnesses (HRIs) and injuries. The National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) defines heat stress “as the combination of a worker’s physical activity, environmental factors, and clothing that results in an increase in the body’s heat storage, known as the net heat load.” The physiological response to heat stress is heat strain, “which occurs when the body attempts to increase heat loss to the environment in order to maintain a stable body temperature,” says NIOSH. To function normally, core body temperature must be kept around 98.6°F. Heat stress can cause unrelieved heat strain, which increases the risk of HRIs. Heatstroke, heat exhaustion, fainting, heat cramps, and heat rash are all examples of HRIs.