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Heat Dome Creates Hazardous Working Conditions in the Southwest

The southwest is set to experience its hottest day of the year so far on Thursday afternoon as a heat dome reaches its peak intensity in the region. Temperatures are expected to rise up to 25 degrees above the seasonal average, with some areas likely exceeding 110 degrees.

The heat will persist through the weekend, with a slight decrease expected next week. Heat domes are large areas of high pressure that trap air and heat it with sunshine for days or weeks.

Excessive heat warnings have been issued in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. The rising temperatures will pose significant dangers to those exposed to the elements. Construction workers in hot environments or extreme heat are at particular risk of heat-related illnesses (HRIs) and injuries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), construction workers exposed to heat are at risk for HRIs such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, fainting, heat cramps, and heat rash.

Between 1992 and 2016, 285 construction workers died from HRIs, accounting for over a third of all U.S. occupational deaths from heat exposure. Last year, President Biden announced plans to protect workers and communities from rising temperatures across the U.S. He directed the U.S. Department of Labor to increase enforcement of heat-safety violations and inspections in high-risk workplaces such as construction sites.

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