The impact of heat stress on human health has been extensively studied. Similarly, researchers have investigated the impact of heat stress on workers’ health and safety. However, very little work has been done on the impact of heat stress on occupational accidents and their severity, particularly in South Australian construction. Construction workers are at high risk of injury due to heat stress as they often work outdoors, undertake hard manual work, and are often project based and sub-contracted. Little is known on how heat waves could impact on construction accidents and their severity. In order to provide more evidence for the currently limited number of empirical investigations on the impact of heat stress on accidents, this study analysed 29,438 compensation claims reported during 2002–2013 within the construction industry of South Australia. Claims reported during 29 heat waves in Adelaide were compared with control periods to elicit differences in the number of accidents reported and their severity. The results revealed that worker characteristics, type of work, work environment, and agency of accident mainly govern the severity. It is recommended that the implementation of adequate preventative measures in small-sized companies and civil engineering sites, targeting mainly old age workers could be a priority for Work, Health and Safety (WHS) policies.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited