Summary Statement

A manual that helps a trainer provide information on a variety of roadway hazards, such as electrical, falls, slips and trips and ergonomics. Part of a collection. Click on the 'collection' button to access the other items.

This document is one in a program produced under an OSHA grant by a consortium of the Laborers' Health and Safety Fund N.A, the International Union of Operating Engineers, the American Road and Transportation Builders Assn, and the National Asphalt Pavement Assn. All of the documents from this set that are on eLCOSH can be found by clicking on Job Site, Heavy construction, and scrolling to the Street & highway heading. Or to download a complete version of the computerized program, go to

What Is Our Risk from Sun Exposure?

Skin cancer is the most serious risk of sun exposure. You are at greater risk if you:
  • Have lighter skin with freckles or moles.
  • Work at higher elevations.
  • Work around reflective material, like water or concrete.
You can protect yourself with:
  • Long-sleeved shirts and pants in neutral colors.
  • Broad-brimmed hat with a neck flap.
  • Safety glasses with tinted polarizing lenses (UV protective).
  • SPF 15-25 sun block 30 minutes before work, reapplied every 2 to 3 hours.
  • Check skin for early signs of skin cancer, see a dermatologist for check-ups.
These tips will also prevent sunburn.

Fig. WO-1A
Fig. WO-1A. Apply sun block 30 minutes before work.

Fig. WO-1B
Fig. WO-1B. Skin cancer is caused mostly by sun exposure.


Sun exposure can cause sunburn. Sunburn is a painful skin condition that results from overexposure to ultraviolet rays. The time it takes to get a sunburn varies with age, skin type and color, geographical location, altitude, time of day, time of year, and reflection of water, sand, or snow.

Sunburn symptoms may not appear for a few hours, and the full effect may not be obvious for 24 hours:
-Skin is red, tender, and warm.
-Skin may be blistered, swollen.
-Severe reactions — known as "sun poisoning" — may include fever, chills, nausea, or rash.
-Sunburned skin may peel several days after the burn.

-Apply petroleum jelly, ointment, or butter.
-Wash with harsh soap.
-Use creams/sprays containing benzocaine. Benzocaine may cause allergic reaction.

How Can We Identify Skin Cancer?

Look for the warning signs. If you aren't sure, see a doctor. Here are some things to look for:
  • ASYMMETRY: Most early melanomas are asymmetrical. A line through the middle would not create matching halves.
  • BORDER: Borders of early melanomas are often uneven and may have scalloped or notched edges.
  • COLOR: Common moles usually are a single shade of brown. Varied shades of brown, tan, or black are often the first sign of melanoma. As it progresses, the colors red, white, and blue may appear.
  • DIAMETER: Early melanomas tend to grow larger than common moles - generally to at least the size of a pencil eraser (about 1/4 inch in diameter).
Fig. WO-2A Fig. WO-2B
Fig. WO-2A. Asymmetry. At left is benign, at right is melanoma. Fig. WO-2B. Border. At left is benign, at right is melanoma.
Fig. WO-2C. Fig. WO-2D
Fig. WO-2C. Color. At left is benign, at right is melanoma. Fig. WO-2D. Diameter. At left is benign, at right is melanoma.



What Are the Hazards of Hot Weather?

It can lead to heat stress, exhaustion, or stroke. Heat illnesses can be caused by a combination of:
  • Heat exposure.
  • High humidity.
  • Non-breathing synthetic clothing.
  • Not drinking enough fluids to replace sweat.
  • Hard work, body heat, and not being "acclimatized."
Heat stress :
  • Can lead to heat rash, cramps, exhaustion, and stroke.
  • May be more likely if you are overweight and not fit.
  • Alcohol increases your risk.
Fig. WO-3B
Fig. WO-3B. Alcohol consumption
and being overweight increase risk.

Fig. WO-3A
Fig. WO-3A. Hot weather can cause heat illnesses.


During hot summer months, construction workers face even greater risk of heat stress. In 2000, 21 workers died and 2,554 others experienced heat-related occupational injuries and illnesses serious enough to make them miss work.

Ask trainees: Do you drink enough water on hot days? How much is enough? (2 to 3 quarts)


When should you drink water? (Answer
: Even if you are not thirsty.)

What Is Heat Exhaustion?

Heat exhaustion is a dangerous illness. Heat exhaustion symptoms:
  • Extreme weakness or fatigue.
  • Dizziness, confusion.
  • Nausea.
  • Clammy moist skin.
  • Pale or flushed complexion.
  • Slightly elevated body temperature.
Heat exhaustion treatment:
  • Rest in a cool, shaded place.
  • Drink plenty of water.
Fig. WO-4
Fig. WO-4. Heat exhaustion is a dangerous illness.


Ask trainees: Has anyone here experienced heat exhaustion? If so, what was your experience? What was the treatment?

What Is Heat Stroke?

Heat stoke can cause hallucinations and death. Heat stroke symptoms and treatment:
  • Hot dry skin, no sweating, chills, high body temperature, mental confusion, irritability, slurred speech.
  • Call 911, remove to cool shaded area, soak clothes with water, fan body, apply ice to bring down temperature.
Protect yourself from heat:
  • Wear light-colored clothing.
  • Gradually build up to heavy work.
  • Schedule heavy work during coolest parts of day.
  • Take more breaks in extreme heat and humidity.
  • Drink lots of water — at least 2 to 3 quarts a day.
Fig. WO-5
Fig. WO-5. Heat stoke can cause hallucinations and death.


NOTE: With heat stroke, there is a 40% to 50% risk of dying.

Ask trainees: How much water should you drink if you are working in the sun?

Don't wait until you are thirsty to drink. By then you are already dehydrated.

What Are the Hazards of Cold Weather?

Cold stress can lead to hypothermia and frostbite. Cold stress is caused by a combination of:
  • Cold/cool temperatures (50o F and less).
  • Wet weather and/or wet conditions.
  • High winds (40+ MPH).
  • Inadequate clothing.
Cold stress is prevented by:
  • Warm layers of correct clothing, head cover, warm gloves, and wool socks.
  • Keeping dry.
  • Breaks in warm areas and drinking hot liquids.
  • Keeping in good physical shape.
Early symptoms of hypothermia include:
  • Shivering,
  • Fatigue,
  • Loss of coordination, and
  • Confusion and disorientation.
Late symptoms of hypothermia include:
  • No shivering,
  • Blue skin,
  • Dilated pupils,
  • Slowed pulse and breathing,
  • Loss of consciousness,
  • Coma and death.
Fig. WO-6.
Fig. WO-6. Cold weather can cause hypothermia and frostbite.

Ask trainees: How cold does it have to be for you to get frostbite? What if it is wet outside?

(See Wind Chill chart below)

Frostbite results when it is very cold out. The body reduces blood flow to the hands and feet to keep core body temperature normal. The fingers or toes can freeze. This is called frostbite. Frostbite can also happen from skin contact with very cold objects such as metal equipment. Symptoms of frostbite include:
  • Numbness, tingling, aching, and
  • Skin turns white then bluish.
Pain occurs when the tissue thaws out. Frostbite can cause the tissue to die and force amputation. Early frostbite can be reversed by gradual rewarming of the tissue in warm water.

Fig. WO-7
Fig. WO-7. Cold weather can cause
hypothermia and frostbite.

Temperature Chart


Wind Chill Chart CD DEMO:
The chart at left displays the effect of wind on temperature. Temperatures are displayed on the horizontal axis and wind speeds are displayed on the vertical axis. In general, wind lowers temperature and the wind's effect is greater at lower temperatures. For example, at -5o F the effective temperature drops to -40o F with a 60 mph wind. (Source: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service.)

How Are Plants and Animals Hazardous?

They can cause rash, illness, and even death. Outdoor work may expose you to:
  • Bites from animals — like dogs or snakes — and from insects and arachnida — like bees, wasps, ticks, spiders, or mosquitoes.
  • Plants — such as poison ivy, poison oak, and hogweed.
To prevent these problems:
  • Steer clear of any animals.
  • Learn to recognize and avoid poisonous plants.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. Use insect repellents.
  • Check for tick bites and for lyme disease each day. The sign of lyme disease is a red bullseye.
  • Get prompt medical or first aid treatment for any problems.
Deadly West Nile virus may be carried by mosquitoes in most parts of the U.S. Malaria and other diseases are also mosquitoe-borne. Long sleeves and pants and frequent reapplication of repellent (DEET) help protect from mosquitoes and other insects. Be especially careful in the twilight hours and around standing water where mosquitoes feed.

Fig. WO-8
Fig. WO-8. Avoid any animals, even animals that do not appear to be dangerous.


Ask trainees: Have you ever gotten poison ivy while working outdoors?

Poison ivy:
Scratching poison ivy rash only spreads it if the plant oil still remains on the skin. No oil is in the blisters or in the rash. By scratching you can cause bacterial secondary infection which can get wider and more severe. Then you need a doctor and an antibiotic prescription. Poison ivy rash is not contagious. But the oil itself can be transmitted to others.

Poison oak:
Burning poison oak causes an extremely dangerous smoke. A severe allergic reaction from inhaling the smoke, "anaphylaxis," is life-threatening. Do not burn this plant!

Hogweed can cause 2nd degree burns.

Back to Contents