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Alabama construction employer cited after heat illness claims worker’s life.

US Department of Labor cites Alabama construction employer after heat illness claims life of 33-year-old worker at Huntsville job site

February 5, 2024


A tragic incident at a construction site in Huntsville, Alabama, has prompted the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to cite SJ&L General Contractor LLC for exposing workers to extreme temperatures without rest and shade. A 33-year-old concrete finisher collapsed and died from heat illness during the peak of summer in July 2023. This article will provide an overview of the incident, highlight the importance of implementing safety measures in the workplace, and offer practical tips for preventing heat-related illnesses.

The Incident

On July 28, 2023, a concrete finisher working at a construction site in Huntsville collapsed after showing signs of heat illness. Despite receiving first aid and being transported to the hospital, the worker passed away within two hours of admission. OSHA’s investigation revealed that SJ&L General Contractor LLC exposed the worker and 18 other employees to extreme heat hazards while working outside in direct sunlight during their 10-hour shifts.

The Importance of Heat Safety Measures

Extreme temperatures can have severe consequences for workers, with fatalities due to exposure to heat increasing by 18.6% in 2022. It is crucial for employers to prioritize the implementation of heat safety measures to protect their employees’ well-being and prevent tragic incidents like the one in Huntsville. OSHA emphasizes the need for employers to establish rest cycles, train workers to identify signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses, allow time for acclimation to temperatures, and develop and follow safety plans.

Practical Tips for Implementing Heat Safety Measures

Here are some practical tips and advice for employers to ensure the safety of their workers in high-temperature work environments:

1. Provide Access to Shade and Rest

Employers should ensure that workers have access to shaded areas where they can take regular breaks and rest. Setting up temporary structures, such as canopies or tents, can help create shaded areas on construction sites or outdoor workspaces.

2. Train Workers on Heat Illness Recognition

It is essential to educate workers on the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses. Encourage them to report any discomfort or symptoms promptly. Training should include information on heat exhaustion, heat stroke, dehydration, and how to respond in case of an emergency.

3. Allow Time for Acclimation

Workers who are not accustomed to working in high temperatures need time to acclimate. Gradually increasing their exposure to heat over a period of several days or weeks can help their bodies adjust and reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses.

4. Implement Safety Plans and Regularly Monitor Compliance

Employers should develop comprehensive safety plans that address heat hazards and ensure their implementation. Regular monitoring and inspections can help identify any gaps or non-compliance with safety measures, allowing for prompt corrective action.

5. Utilize OSHA’s Resources

OSHA provides various resources to assist employers and workers in maintaining safety in outdoor and indoor heat environments. Employers can use the OSHA Heat Safety Tool, which calculates the heat index and risk level to workers, helping them take appropriate protective measures. OSHA’s website also offers guidelines, checklists, and educational materials to enhance heat safety awareness.


The tragic incident in Huntsville serves as a somber reminder of the importance of prioritizing health, safety, and environmental measures in the workplace. Employers must take proactive steps to protect their workers from extreme temperatures and prevent heat-related illnesses. By providing access to shade and rest, training workers, allowing time for acclimation, implementing safety plans, and utilizing available resources, employers can create a safer work environment and prevent future tragedies.

For more information about OSHA and its resources, visit

Reference: US Department of Labor cites Alabama construction employer after heat illness claims life of 33-year-old worker at Huntsville job site

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