Heat stress, a hidden cause of accidents in construction


Extreme heat stress has a deep impact on physiological reactions, which results in occupational injuries and deaths. In this paper, an attempt is made to understand the impact of heat stress on construction accidents in Oman. A literature review on heat stress is discussed in the first section followed by an analysis of 623 accidents that occurred in a highway project. The analysis of these accidents reveals that more severe accidents on this project took place from 11:00 to 17:00. The semi-structured interview held with some of the workers involved in these accidents confirmed excessive heat as one of the main reason behind these accidents. The health profile of the same workers is measured in terms of their body mass index and blood pressure. The results show that 80% of the workers from the selected sample were found to be overweight or obese and 40% of the participants were hypertensive. The safety performance of such workers is particularly discussed in relation to heat stress. The effective implementations of day time break in summer, a healthy diet, appropriate sleeping habit, scheduling physically demanding tasks during early morning and evening and adopting light colour and loose fitting uniform could reduce the impact of heat stress

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This paper was published in LSBU Research Open.

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