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What spring hazards do construction workers face?

As spring emerges in New England, it's common to see many construction crews out in force. The long winter is over, and those looking to build or remodel start laying their plans.

But springtime can bring some specific safety hazards for those working in the construction industry, including those listed below.

Rain and storms

Wet surfaces on construction sites can be dangerous or deadly to construction workers. Those at greatest risk are those working on high-rise sites where a slipped foot can mean a long fall to certain death or catastrophic injuries. Wearing slip-resistant boots may reduce some of the risk.

With rain comes mud — and that's more than just an irritation. Mud enhances the inherent dangers of construction workers slipping on slick surfaces and makes climbing much more perilous. Workers wearing muddy boots to clamber onto cranes or bulldozers can slip and fall into harm's way. Wiping mud from boots and gloves before ascending may make the task safer.

Wet, sloped surfaces

Maneuvering slopes while operating heavy machinery is quite dicey. The equipment could slide down the slope, injuring not just the operator but those workers on the ground beneath them. No unnecessary workers should be in the area where heavy equipment is being operated. Operators should make good use of their safety belts even when the weather is balmy to reduce their risk of an accident.

Heat illnesses

When the mercury rises in the spring, heat-related illnesses can occur. Make sure that you dress in removable layers and stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. Protect your skin from sunburn by using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.

Construction companies have a duty to keep the worksite safe for their employees. If you suffer injuries on a job site, you may be able to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits.

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