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Five worst summer safety hazards for construction workers

Construction workers in New Jersey face a lot of safety risks in the summer with five common ones being fatigue, heat stress, dehydration, conditions resulting from prolonged sun exposure and injuries in roadside construction zones. There are ways that employers can manage these risks, though.

The first basic steps are to provide workers with hydrating liquids and frequent breaks in a shaded place. If workers do not like water, add a lemon slice to it or bring in electrolytic beverages like Sqwincher and Gatorade. Canopies and umbrellas can give shade even on the job site. For fatiguing tasks, cycle workers in and out.

Workers should be trained to detect signs of heat-related illness. To reduce the risk for illnesses, employers must ensure that all PPE is appropriate for the job and not bulky. Hats and sunscreen provide essential protection against sunburn and, in the long run, skin cancer. One measure employers could take is to modify shifts so that workers are outside during the cooler parts of the day.

As for roadside construction zones, these should be clearly marked by barriers. One should also post a reduced speed limit sign. For long projects, one should give daily safety reminders so that employees do not grow complacent. Work zones see almost 100 worker deaths every year, says NIOSH.

Under workers' compensation law, those who are injured on the job may receive wage replacement and be covered for their medical expenses regardless of who was at fault. Of course, if they themselves are to blame, the employer can deny payment. Filing is a complicated process, and victims may need to appeal in the end, so it may be a good idea to hire an attorney who's familiar with this field. An attorney may also advise those who wish for a settlement.

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