Heat-Related InjuriesJune 26, 2019
As the temperatures continue to rise during the summer months, workers who are exposed to extreme heat are at risk for certain heat-related illnesses and injuries, some of which can be serious and life-threatening. Construction workers, firefighters, miners, and factory workers are just a few examples of those at risk of heat stress and other heat-related occupational illnesses and injuries. Many of these hazards can be avoided by staying hydrated, taking regular breaks, and using basic common sense. Employers should provide training seminars on heat safety so that employees can recognize the signs of heat stress and take proactive steps to prevent it.
Examples of Common Heat Injuries
There are several heat-related health hazards, ranging from minor heat exhaustion to fatal heat stroke. The following are examples of ways that extreme heat can compromise workers’ health:
- Heat cramps: While not life-threatening, this can cause extreme discomfort. It is usually caused by excessive sweating, which lowers the salt levels in the muscles and leads to cramping.
- Heat exhaustion: This occurs when the body loses too much water and salt from excessive sweating. Symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, nausea, and irritability, as well as heat cramps and heat rashes.
- Heat stroke: When the body is unable to cool itself down, it can cause a rapid increase in the worker’s body temperature. This can result in a stroke if the worker does not receive medical attention or take immediate steps to regulate their body temperature. Symptoms of heat stroke include a high temperature, seizures, confusion, loss of consciousness, and skin that is hot or dry to the touch.
- Rhabdomyolysis: This condition is caused by overexertion, which can lead to the breakdown of muscle tissue. When this occurs, it can cause irregular heart rhythms and organ damage.
How to Prevent Heat Injuries
The first step to preventing heat-related injuries is being aware of the risks, and to take proactive steps to avoid too much heat exposure. Workers should keep the following safety tips in mind when working outside during the summer months:
- If possible, avoid doing outdoor work during the peak hours of the day when the temperatures are highest. Do most of the outdoor work during the morning or late afternoon hours.
- Take regular breaks either in the shade or in a cooler environment.
- Drink water every 15 minutes to stay adequately hydrated. Include a sports drink to help replace electrolytes lost from excessive sweating.
- Wear protective clothing, including moisture-wicking shirts, hats that protect the face, and sunglasses.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Heat-Related Injuries
If you suffered from a heat-related injury while on the job, you are urged to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We will walk you through the claims process and secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. Located in Baltimore, we serve clients throughout Maryland.