Construction Workers are Dying in the Heat

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Robison Wells
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Construction is booming, and companies are trying to pack as much work into the summer months as possible, but a very real danger lurks out under the sun. According to a new study, construction workers sweltering in the heat are dying at an alarming—and increasing—rate.

Between 1992 and 2016, 783 construction workers died from heat exposure, and a further 70,000 were seriously injured. For those lucky enough to survive heat stroke, other dangers lie in wait, like organ failure and brain damage. A day too long in the sun can literally ruin your life.

While construction workers only account for 6% of the workforce, they suffer 36% of heat-related deaths, according to the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

And those numbers are only increasing. As the climate changes (regardless of what one thinks about anthropomorphic causes of global warming, summer temperatures have risen steadily since 1992), with hotter weather comes an increased risk of heat-related injuries and death.

“U.S. construction workers are at a high risk of heat-related death, and this risk has increased with climate change over time,” wrote the researchers. “Effective workplace interventions, enhanced surveillance, and improved regulations and enforcement should accompany broader efforts to combat global warming.”

Part of the problem, on both sides of the issue, comes down to economics. Construction companies have incentive to make the most of the building season, and keep workers working. But, on the other hand, reports show 270,000 open construction jobs in America—maybe potential workers are choosing their health over the job.

To read the study, click here.

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