As cold as the winters are in Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes can become unbearably hot and humid in the summer. If you are in an air-conditioned high rise or enjoying cool breezes coming off one of those lakes, it’s not so bad.
But if you are a construction worker here in Minneapolis, you must endure a lot of discomfort on the job. That may come with the territory, but there should be protocols in place to make sure that no worker gets dangerously overheated and suffers serious health consequences as a result.
Heat death risks are high for the construction industry
According to a report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), in a recent 25-year period, over a third (285) on-the-job deaths due to heat-related illnesses (HRIs) occurred to those working in the field of construction. Some believe that these figures may be misclassified and because of underreporting, are actually far higher.
That’s a scary thought if it is you or your loved one out there walking the iron or digging ditches when the mercury climbs. It is up to your employer to keep a safe workplace and protect the company’s employees from dangerous conditions. Arranging more frequent breaks for rest and hydration and supplying cooling stations on the job may minimize some of the risks that construction workers face out in the glare of the midday sun.
Heat-related illnesses are compensable
If you suffer a heat-related health emergency while on the job, you can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits to cover your medical expenses and potentially access other benefits.