Two years ago, on July 7 2020 in Geneseo, NY, Tim Barber, a 35 year old construction worker died from heat stress on his second day at work. The young man had just been hired as a construction laborer on the Genesee River bridge project in Geneseo, NY. Tim was living with his parents and came back home on the first day not feeling well. On the second day before he headed back to work, his father told him to eat his lunch, take breaks and drink water. Several hours later, in mid-afternoon, their son died from hyperthermia.
According to the investigation, Tim was working alone in a summer heat that was around 95 degrees. He was sorting bolts which is considered a light duty, however his body was not accustomed to the heat. The accident could have been prevented and the employer, Pavilion Drainage Supply, Inc. was cited by OSHA for not training and protecting their employees against extreme heat. His parents are now advocating for better workers education and protection for extreme heat.
Tim’s parents are not the only one campaigning for better workers protection against heat illness and fatality. New York Attorney General Laetitia James is at the head of a coalition of six States that are asking OSHA to implement a national standard to protect not only construction workers but all workers, outdoor and indoor, that are exposed to extreme heat during their work.