How Workers Can Beat the HeatJune 22, 2018
The temperatures are steadily climbing and warmer weather also means that men and women who work outside in extreme heat and humidity are at risk for certain heat-related illnesses. In addition to dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke, workers can suffer fatal injuries from extreme weather conditions if they do not receive immediate medical attention. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed a Heat Illness Prevention campaign to educate workers about the dangers of working in these conditions and how to stay safe in the heat.
While workers in any industry can suffer heat-related illnesses if they do not take the proper precautions, over 40 percent of heat-related fatalities occur in the construction industry. For individuals who work outside, it may feel hotter than the actual temperature outside. This is because other conditions, like the level of humidity in the air, can make it feel hotter. The heat index is a number that represents both the temperature and the humidity. When the air has a high level of humidity, it prevents sweat from evaporating and cooling the skin, which can put workers at risk.
Life-Saving Strategies to Prevent Overheating
Some of the common symptoms of heat-related illnesses include headache, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, and loss of consciousness. If the symptoms are ignored, or the worker does not obtain the proper treatment, it can lead to heat stroke, which can be fatal. The following tips can help prevent workers from becoming dangerously dehydrated:
- New employees should be exposed to extreme heat gradually; in a study of 25 incidents of heat-related illnesses, close to half occurred on the individual’s first day of work
- Encourage water breaks every 15 minutes
- Make sure workers have a cool area for breaks
- Schedule physically demanding work for the cooler morning hours
- Train workers on how to recognize symptoms of heat stroke
- Make sure all workers know what to do and who to call in case of an emergency
Risk Factors for Heat-Related Illnesses
The following risk factors should be avoided, even if the heat index is not dangerously high:
- Working in direct sunlight can make it feel 15 degrees hotter than the heat index
- Performing strenuous work for a prolonged period without a break
- Wearing heavy protective clothing
Extreme heat can affect anyone, regardless of a person’s age or physical condition, so it is important for all workers to keep these tips in mind and take the right precautions when working outside during the summer months.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Workers Suffering from Heat-Related Illnesses
If you or someone you know suffered from heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or another heat-related illness while on the job, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve and ensure that your legal rights are protected. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.