Tuner Construction has found health concerns during a study exploring the conditions for laborers working at a large data center project in Kansas City.

The study, carried out alongside the universities of New Mexico and Indiana and research consultancy La Isla Network, gave 33 workers a pill-size data collection device to swallow and measure their internal temperatures.

Turner Construction
– Turner Construction

The device captured their internal temperature throughout the course of a working day, and found that 43 percent of workers experienced a peak core temperature exceeding 100.4°F (38°C), with four percent exceeding 101.3°F (38.5°C). The day in question was "cooler than typical [in] summer."

Those internal readings could, if prolonged, cause permanent health effects. It is important to note however that, according to the lead researchers, the numbers are not "alarming," but do suggest a problem could occur during heat waves.

In addition to the data collected via the device, the study also found that the majority of workers were coming to the job site dehydrated.

Monika Serrano, Turner Construction’s resilience project manager, said: “There is a lack of awareness about the serious consequences of extreme heat on our business."

“We are recording increasing summer temperatures around the globe and the trend is expected to continue,” Serrano said. “In fact, according to the Fifth National Climate Assessment, released this year, ‘the planet is on average about 2°F (1.1°C) warmer than it was in the late 1800s,’ and rising. That might not sound like a big difference, but it is, and does not take into account the extreme heat waves over shorter intense periods that contribute to that average. Indeed, as Climate Central’s Climate Shift Index illustrates so well, a small change in the average leads to big changes in extremes.”

The exact data center project used was not shared, but is located in Kansas City. The climate there can reach highs in the summer months of around 86°F (30°C). This is notably less than in other states, for example in Arizona, where the summer peaks above 100°F (40°C).

Data center developments currently underway in Kansas City include a 1.435m sq ft (133,316 sqm) Google facility and an 18MW data center for Edged Energy. Meta and QTS are also reportedly looking to develop in the area.