Top summer safety hazards for workers

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Which of these summer safety hazards do your workers face?

  • Heat illness: Monitor heat advisories, acclimatize new workers, ensure proper hydration and educate on heat illness symptoms and prevention.
  • Wildfires, hurricanes and tornadoes: Have an emergency plan in place, identify safe shelter locations and ensure effective communication and accountability systems.
  • Worksite fatigue: Provide regular breaks, use ergonomic solutions, rotate tasks and maintain a comfortable work environment to mitigate fatigue and maintain productivity.


Excessive heat. Wildfires. Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Have you prepared your workers for these summer safety hazards? Add to these dangers the fact that days are longer, with more workable hours. So, as workers head back to the worksite or start new jobs, what steps can you take to protect your workforce?


Heat illness

“When each new summer becomes ‘the hottest summer on record,’ protecting employees from heat stress continues to be a challenge,” says EHS Daily. Industries like agriculture, construction and landscaping are particularly vulnerable, making it crucial to monitor heat advisories from the National Weather Service.

Other workers in hot environments, including firefighters, bakery workers, boiler room operators and factory workers, are also at risk. But those who are overweight, 65 years of age or older, have heart disease or high blood pressure, or take medications affected by heat are especially vulnerable.

New workers or those unaccustomed to working in high temperatures need to acclimatize to the heat gradually. They should hydrate adequately, start with shorter shifts and recognize heat illness symptoms.

Recognizing heat illness: 

  • Heat stroke: Symptoms include high body temperature (103°F or higher); hot, red, dry or damp skin; fast, strong pulse; headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; and loss of consciousness. Call 911 immediately.
  • Heat exhaustion: Symptoms include heavy sweating; cold, pale, clammy skin; fast or weak pulse; nausea or vomiting; muscle cramps; tiredness or weakness; dizziness; headache; and fainting. Move the worker to a cool place, loosen their clothing and provide water.
  • Heat cramps: Symptoms include heavy sweating, muscle pain or spasms. Ensure the worker stops activity, moves to a cool place and drinks water or a sports drink.
  • Heat rash: Symptoms include red clusters of small blisters, usually on the neck, chest, groin or in elbow creases. Move the worker to a cool, dry place and use powder to soothe the rash.

For more detailed information on heat illness prevention, refer to our earlier blogpost.



Over 20,000 wildfires have burned more than 2 million acres across the United States so far in 2024. And to make matters worse, moderate to exceptional drought covers over 10% of the country, including Puerto Rico, creating the perfect conditions for more wildfires. While they can occur year-round, wildfires most often ignite in the summer and fall, making them a significant summer safety hazard in western, southwestern and midwestern states.

Employers need a comprehensive wildfire preparedness plan that includes clear evacuation procedures, designated roles and responsibilities, a chain of command and specified exits and evacuation routes. Even if the business is not directly in the path of a wildfire, smoke can travel hundreds of miles, posing serious respiratory risks to employees. Thus, outdoor workers may need to work shorter shifts or relocate to areas with better air quality.

Additionally, businesses in fire-prone regions with indoor workers, must ensure that their HVAC systems are functioning properly, and air filters are clean. We recommend that these employers check with their HVAC technician about using the highest filtration rating their system can support, especially when smoke is present.

Producers, review these wildfire safety tips for businesses with your commercial clients.



NOAA forecasts yet another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season this year, with a predicted 17 to 25 named storms and 8 to 13 hurricanes, including 4 to 7 major hurricanes. Thus, hurricanes are inarguably a top summer safety hazard for workers.

For businesses along the Eastern Seaboard or Gulf Coast, having a robust emergency plan is crucial. The plan should include evacuation procedures; emergency function assignments, such as having designed employees ready to shut down machinery and utilities; and a method for accounting for employees, customers and visitors.

Post-hurricane, employees face a new onslaught of hazards like electrocution, cuts, falls, infections from high water and hidden wildlife. Employers should keep these additional risks in mind when crafting an emergency plan.

We invite you to review our ways to protect your business from hurricane damage and additional safety tips for business recovery after a hurricane.



Tornadoes can sometimes be more dangerous than hurricanes, primarily because they often occur with little-to-no warning. In an average year, 800 tornadoes are reported nationwide, resulting in 80 deaths and 1,500 injuries. So, it shouldn’t go without saying that every warning of an impending tornado should be treated with life-or-death urgency.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration suggests that, to prepare, employers in tornado-prone areas should preemptively identify shelter locations like basements or small interior rooms on the lowest floor, away from windows and outside walls. Reinforced rooms with no windows offer the best protection.

For accountability, employers should establish a system to know who is in the building, use alarms to warn workers and have a plan to communicate with those with disabilities or language barriers. It’s also important to then practice that plan regularly to ensure everyone knows what to do in the event of a tornado.

Tornadoes can generate wind speeds of up to 200 mph, cause damage up to one mile wide and 50 miles long and should be taken seriously. For more information, we’ve compiled additional tornado safety tips.


Worksite fatigue

Both new and seasoned workers need to be made aware of the additional physical stresses and strains to their bodies during longer summer work hours. Prolonged standing can cause sore feet, backaches, swelling, join pressure and overall fatigue, which can impact performance and mental sharpness. Over time, these issues can lead to more serious health conditions, including heart disease.

Employers can mitigate worksite fatigue by providing regular breaks, using ergonomic solutions and rotating tasks to prevent prolonged standing or repetitive motions. Ensuring that workers have access to water, educating them on proper posture and stretching exercises, as well as maintaining a comfortable work environment with proper ventilation and temperature control are also significant steps employers can take.

View our blogpost on how employers can help prevent worksite fatigue.


Ensuring summer safety for workers

Addressing the top summer safety hazards — heat illness, wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes and worksite fatigue — requires proactive planning and preparedness. By understanding these risks and implementing proactive measures, employers can create a safer and more productive environment for their workers during the summer months and beyond.

Agents, take a look at our Workers’ Compensation Program to add to your portfolio of insurance solutions.



Are You Ready to Get Ahead of Summer Safety Hazards?
Promoting a culture of worksite safety
How to Beat the Heat and Prevent Heat Illness: A Step-by-Step Guide
Tornado Preparedness and Response