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Heat Stress Death Leads to Fine

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

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U.S. labor officials have fined a Missouri-based commercial roofing and waterproofing company $12,471 in the death of a worker at a high school project in Jefferson City.

A 47-year-old worker collapsed Aug. 17, 2016, and later died after being hospitalized with a core body temperature above 107 degrees. The heat index was about 90 degrees when the worker collapsed.

The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Weathercraft Inc., of Jefferson City, with one serious violation of OSHA’s general duty clause. The roofing company provides roof installation and repair services in industrial and commercial markets, according to its website.

heat illness

Construction is one of the industries most affected by heat-related illness and stroke.

Weathercraft did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday (Nov. 14). The company has 15 business days to contest the citations, which were announced Thursday (Nov. 10).

New on the Job

“This tragedy occurred on this worker's third day on the job,” said Karena Lorek, OSHA’s acting director in Kansas City. “His needless death underscores how critical it is for employers to ensure that workers are acclimated to heat conditions.”

“A review of heat-related deaths across industries finds most workers were new to the job and not physically used to the constant heat and sun exposure. Workers should have frequent access to water, rest and shade to prevent heat illness and injuries during the hot summer months and during hot indoor conditions and be trained to recognize and respond to the signs of heat-related illness.”

OSHA said Weathercraft failed to “protect employees from hyperthermia and injuries or illness related to heat,” according to the citation documents.

The employer allegedly “exposed employees to the recognized hazard of excessive heat during roofing operations.”

Heat Safety

Construction is one of the industries most affected by heat-related illness. In addition to acclimating workers to heat conditions, OSHA recommends employers:

  • Train supervisors and other employees in the proper response to employees reporting heat-induced illness symptoms, which includes stopping work, moving to a cool place, and providing help, evaluation and medical assistance;
  • Require trained supervisors to go into the field and conduct in-person evaluations of employees complaining of heat-induced symptoms; and
  • Establish work rules and practices that encourage employees to seek assistance and evaluation when experiencing heat stress symptoms.

Commonly, people believe mistakenly that if they are sweating, they are not in danger of heat stroke, OSHA notes.


In 2014, 2,630 workers suffered from heat illness and 18 died from heat stroke and related causes on the job, according to OSHA.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency, the agency warns. If there is any suggestion of heat stroke, call 911 and institute the other safety measures as quickly as possible.

In 2014, 2,630 workers suffered from heat illness and 18 died from heat stroke and related causes on the job, according to OSHA.

More information:


Tagged categories: Citations; Fatalities; Good Technical Practice; Health and safety; Roofing contractors; Roofing materials; Worker training; Workers

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