Potential hazards during roadway construction and asphalt paving include:

  • Getting struck by heavy equipment and vehicles.
  • Radiant heat from hot mix asphalt.
  • Strains and sprains.


Struck-by accidents account for 11% of construction fatalities.1 Vehicle and equipment traffic including dump trucks, paving equipment, rollers and other heavy equipment, creates a struck-by hazard for contractors working within the project.

The size and height of equipment create blind spots for the operator that can extend greater than 10 feet outside the perimeter of the vehicle or equipment.2

  • Before an employee goes to a location in the hazard area that is out of view of the operator, the employee must ensure that the operator is aware of/informed they are going to that area.3
  • Never walk in front, along the side or behind moving vehicles or equipment.
  • Maintain a three-foot perimeter around all operating vehicles and equipment.
  • No work activity should take place within the swing radius of excavation equipment.


The temperature of regular hot mix asphalt will average between 275 – 300F. The radiant heat of the hot mix asphalt combined with excessive summer temperatures can increase the possibility of heat-related illness like heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Hydrate early, and hydrate often. For every pound of lost body weight, you should consume16 ounces of water or electrolyte beverage. Tell your supervisor or foreman immediately if you begin to feel dizzy, fatigued or nauseated; experience muscle cramps; or if you develop a headache.


Stepping on and off vehicles and equipment creates the possibility for an injury.

  • Maintain three points of contact when getting on or off equipment.
  • Be aware of the surface you are stepping on to.

Lifting materials and equipment

  • Put yourself in a good position.
  • Keep the object close to your waist (center of mass). The farther your shoulders are past your waist, the greater the chance of injury.
  • Don’t act foolishly. Know your limits. Ask for help when you need it.

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018
3. 1926.1424(a)(3)(i)

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Heat Stress is Serious

Originally published on June 20, 2016

Working in a hot environment, such as a construction site, puts stress on the body’s cooling system. When heat is combined with other work stresses – like hard physical labor, loss of fluids, or fatigue – it may lead to heat-related illness, disability or even death. There are three stages to heat-related illness: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat cramps are painful, brief muscle cramps that are brought on because the body has lost minerals through sweating. If cramping occurs, move to a cool area at once. Loosen clothing and drink cool water or an electrolyte replacement beverage. Seek medical aid if the cramps are severe, or don’t go away.

Heat exhaustion can occur after you’ve been exposed to high temperatures for several days and have become dehydrated. Symptoms include confusion, dizziness, headache, fatigue and sometimes nausea. Without proper intervention, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke. If you experience heat exhaustion, get out of the heat immediately and rest, preferably in an air-conditioned environment. If you can’t get inside, try to find the nearest cool and shady place. Slowly drink fluids. If possible, lie down with your feet and legs slightly elevated.

Heat stroke is the most serious form of heat illness and is a medical emergency. It often occurs after heat cramps or heat exhaustion are not properly cared for. But it can strike even if you have no previous signs of heat illness.

Heat stroke can kill, or cause damage to the brain and other internal organs. Symptoms are similar to heat exhaustion, but the skin is hot and dry and breathing is deep and fast. The victim may collapse. The body is no longer able to sweat, and the body temperature rises dangerously. If you suspect that someone is a victim of heat stroke – also known as sun stroke – call 911 immediately. Move the victim to a cool area and remove excess clothing while waiting on help to arrive. Fan and spray them with cool water. Offer sips of water if the victim is conscious.

There are things you can do to prevent heat-related illnesses.

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Consider beverages that replace electrolytes. Stay away from beverages with caffeine. Caffeine contributes to dehydration.
  • Slow down in hot weather. Your body’s temperature-regulating system faces a much greater workload when the temperature and humidity are high.
  • If possible, get accustomed to the heat gradually.
  • Dress for hot weather. Light colored clothing reflects heat.
  • Get out of the heat occasionally. Take breaks in a cool, shady location.
  • Eat light, cool meals.

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A fire on a construction site can result in serious injuries and loss of materials, equipment and even lives. All employees need to be familiar with the jobsite’s fire protection program – who to contact, what to do, the various types of fire extinguishers and their locations throughout the jobsite. Employees should be trained in the use and limitations of fire extinguishers to ensure they are used effectively when needed.

Fire extinguishers are meant to handle only small fires. If a fire becomes too large or the environment becomes too dangerous, employees should evacuate the area.

  • The fire is too large.
  • The air is unsafe to breathe.
  • The environment is too hot or the smoke limits visibility.
  • Evacuation paths are impaired.

Keep the fire in front of you. Never place yourself where the fire obstructs your escape.

Classes of Fires and Fire Extinguishers

  • A Wood, paper, ordinary trash.
  • B Flammable liquids (gasoline, oil, grease, solvents, paints, etc.).
  • C Energized electrical equipment.
  • D Combustible metals.
  • K Kitchen fires.

Use the P.A.S.S. Method for correctly using a fire extinguisher.

  • Pull the Pin – Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you, and release the locking mechanism.
  • Aim low – Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly to operate and discharge.
  • Sweep the nozzle from side to side.

Fire Extinguisher Inspection

  • Visually inspect portable extinguishers or hoses monthly.
  • Verify the fire extinguisher is properly charge. Indicator must always be in the green zone.
  • Perform an annual maintenance check on portable fire extinguishers and document.
  • Fire extinguisher must be easily accessible.

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What Is Heat Stress?

Working muscles need a greater blood flow to cool the body. The body needs to shift blood away from muscles to assure an ideal sweat rate and to cool the blood. Dehydration can cause low blood volume, which can lower the body’s ability to cool the blood, leading to confusion, fatigue and potentially, heat illness.

Dry Clothes and Skin Don’t Mean You Aren’t Sweating!

You may not feel wet or sticky in dryer climates, but you are still sweating. You can lose as much as 68 ounces (half a gallon) of fluid on a very warm day. Fainting (heat syncope) may be a problem for workers who simply stand still in the heat when they are not acclimated to a hot environment. Victims usually recover quickly after lying down for a brief period. Moving around, rather than standing still, usually reduces the possibility of fainting.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

  • Headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting.
  • Weakness and moist skin.
  • Mood changes such as irritability or confusion.
  • Upset stomach or vomiting.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke

  • Dry, hot skin with no sweating.
  • Mental confusion or losing consciousness.
  • Seizures or convulsions.

Ways to Prevent Heat Stress

  • Hydrating before work activity is crucial. Consume water or an electrolyte beverage 24 hours prior to activity.
  • Drink 16 ounces of water two-three hours before work activity.
  • Drink water frequently (every 15-30 minutes, drink six-12 ounces)
  • Most people consume enough salt in their diets. Salt tablets are NOT necessary for general use.
  • Post work activity – drink 16 ounces of water for every pound of weight loss.
  • Take breaks and move a person showing symptoms of heat stress away from heat sources or direct sunlight.
  • Utilize ventilation or fans in enclosed areas.
  • It takes one-two weeks for the body to adjust to higher temperatures. This adaptation to heat can be quickly lost, so your body will have to adjust after a vacation.
  • Avoid caffeine (makes the body lose water and increases the risk for heat illness).
  • Avoid alcohol consumption. Many cases of heat stroke have occurred the day after heavy drinking.
  • Wear light-colored, cotton clothes, and keep your shirt on.

What to Do for Heat-Related Illness

  1. Call 911 at once if a worker exhibits heat stroke symptoms.
  2. Move the worker to a cool, shaded area.
  3. Loosen or remove heavy clothing.
  4. Provide cool drinking water.
  5. Fan and mist the person with water.

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Originally published 05/23/2017

Peak construction season usually means working on hot summer days with soaring temperatures. There are several problems that can occur while working on a construction site in such conditions, however the most common is dehydration.

Dehydration occurs when your body does not have enough fluid. It can be caused by losing too much fluid, not drinking enough fluids, or both. In hot weather, your body expels a lot of water through perspiration as it tries to keep from overheating. The hotter the weather, the more you perspire and the more fluids you need to replace.

A widely held misconception is that everyone needs 64 ounces (eight cups) of fluid each day. While these quantities are appropriate for most people, they don’t take into account a person’s body size or activity level. Though no single formula fits everyone, some nutritionists contend that a more accurate way to determine your fluid requirement is to divide your body weight in half. This is how many ounces of fluid you need daily to meet your basic needs. So a 150-pound person would need to drink at least 75 ounces (just over nine cups) of fluid daily, while a 200-pound individual requires at least 100 ounces (about 12.5 cups).

Levels of dehydration can range from mild to severe based upon how much of the body’s fluid is lost and not replenished. Dehydration can escalate and become a life-threatening illness. Therefore, it is very important to recognize the signs and symptoms of dehydration. These signs and symptoms generally include:

  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Low or no urine output (concentrated urine appears dark yellow)
  • Light-headedness or dizziness
  • Dry skin
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Increased heart rate and breathing

To treat dehydration, re-hydrate the body by drinking plenty of fluids. Stay away from caffeinated drinks. Also, recognize the fact that if you are dehydrated, you have lost sugar, salts and minerals, as well as water. Re-hydration solutions such as sports drinks can be very helpful in this instance.

As with all on-the-job illnesses, prevention is key. During hot and humid weather, don’t neglect your fluid consumption. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink fluids. Once you start to feel thirsty, dehydration could have already begun. Light-weight, light-colored, breathable clothing can also make a difference. Every effort you make to stay cool on hot summer days will go a long way toward staying safe on a construction site.

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