The construction industry is known for its physically demanding work, often carried out in challenging environments.

One such challenge that poses a significant risk to construction workers is extreme heat. With rising global temperatures and the increasing frequency of heatwaves, it is crucial to address the potential dangers associated with working in high temperatures.

Extreme heat can have severe consequences on the health and safety of construction workers. The physical nature of construction work, combined with exposure to intense heat, can lead to heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. These conditions can be life threatening if not promptly recognised and treated.

Construction workers are particularly vulnerable to extreme heat due to several factors. Firstly, the nature of their work often requires them to be outdoors for extended periods, exposing them to direct sunlight and high temperatures. Additionally, concrete and other materials that absorb and radiate heat often surround construction sites, further increasing the risk of heat-related illnesses.

Furthermore, construction workers often wear protective clothing and equipment, which can impede the body's ability to regulate temperature. Hard hats, safety vests, and other gear can restrict airflow and increase the risk of overheating. This is especially true when combined with the physical exertion required in construction work, which can lead to excessive sweating and dehydration.

To mitigate the risk of extreme heat in the construction industry, employers and workers must take proactive measures. Firstly, it is essential to provide adequate training and education on recognising the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses. Workers should be aware of the importance of staying hydrated and taking regular breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas.

Employers should also implement engineering controls to reduce heat exposure. This can include providing shaded areas or canopies on construction sites, using reflective materials to reduce heat absorption, and ensuring proper ventilation in enclosed spaces. Additionally, scheduling work during cooler hours of the day, such as early mornings or evenings, can help minimise heat-related risks.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be carefully selected to balance the need for protection and comfort. Lightweight and breathable materials should be prioritised, and workers should be encouraged to remove unnecessary layers when working in extreme heat. Regular monitoring of workers' health and temperature can also help identify early signs of heat-related illnesses.

Furthermore, employers should establish an emergency response plan in case of heat-related emergencies. This plan should include clear procedures for recognising and responding to heat-related illnesses, as well as access to medical assistance when needed. Workers should be encouraged to report any symptoms promptly, and supervisors should be trained to respond effectively.

In conclusion, it’s necessary to address the risk of extreme heat in the construction industry which is a significant concern to ensure the health and safety of workers. By implementing proper training, engineering controls, and personal protective measures, employers can minimise the risk of heat-related illnesses. It is crucial for both employers and workers to prioritise safety and take proactive steps to mitigate the dangers associated with working in high temperatures.

How Gallagher can help

From simple phone-based advice to bespoke consultancy, packaged services, and training, we can provide advice and services that could make a real difference to your organisation. We do this in a way which links your legal obligations to your insurers’ expectations – affordably, accurately, and sustainably.

To find out how we can help you with the hazards and risks associated with extreme heat and the construction sector, please call 0207 234 4422.


The sole purpose of this article is to provide guidance on the issues covered. This article is not intended to give legal advice, and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and/ or market practice in this area. We make no claims as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein or in the links which were live at the date of publication. You should not act upon (or should refrain from acting upon) information in this publication without first seeking specific legal and/or specialist advice. Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers Limited accepts no liability for any inaccuracy, omission or mistake in this publication, nor will we be responsible for any loss which may be suffered as a result of any person relying on the information contained herein.