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Summer's biggest safety hazards for construction workers

There are five safety hazards that construction workers and employers in New Jersey need to look out for during summer. Some of these are linked to one another. The most prominent danger is fatigue from the heat. Fatigued employees will make poor judgments, have slow reactions and feel less motivated to work. This is where plenty of liquids and mandatory breaks in shady areas are vital.

The second hazard is heat-related illness. From heat rash to heatstroke, workers can develop a number of illnesses if they are unequipped with the right personal protective equipment or unable to rest in the shade. For physically demanding tasks, employers may want workers to be cycled in and out.

Third, there is dehydration to worry about. Water is the best hydrating beverage, but if workers don't want that, employers should consider putting out electrolytic beverages like Gatorade. The fourth risk among construction workers is extended sun exposure. Without sunscreen and a covering over their ears and neck, one is liable to get a sunburn. In the long run, exposure can lead to skin cancer.

In the summer, many accidents occur in roadside construction zones. To mitigate this last hazard, employers should have barriers put up and reduced speed limit signs posted. Safety training, as always, is recommended.

Providing a reasonably safe work environment is not the same as preventing all accidents, which is impossible. The workers' compensation program exists to cover an employee's medical bills, disability leave and a portion of their lost wages if they were injured through no fault of the employer. However, some employers may try to deny payments. For this reason, an injured worker might want to consult with a lawyer.

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