It's HOT Out: Preventing Heat-Related Work Injuries

We’re pretty sure you’ve seen the forecast. We’re setting records out there the past week with heat waves moving across the country. The obvious tips to keep cool are to stay in air-conditioning, drink water, and so on. But what if you HAVE to be out in the heat doing physical labor? What tips should you follow to make sure that you don’t suffer illness from heat exposure?

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration has shared the below information to help workers fight heat exposure throughout the hot, summer months.

Heat-related illnesses can be caused by high temperatures, radiant heat sources, and high humidity. Those people that work outside, such as construction workers, are at risk for heat-related illnesses if they do not take preventative steps to ensure safety.

If you are a construction worker, pay attention to the below graph to see the risk level associated with different temperature ranges:

Preventing Heat-Related Illness

  • Practice work/rest cycles
  • Drink water often
  • Build up level of tolerance to working the heat
  • Provide worksite training to recognize and react to high temperatures

For more work practices, visit the OSHA prevention page.

Heat-Related Illnesses

It is important for employers and employees to recognize the signs of heat-related illnesses:

  • Heat Stroke – the most serious heat-related illness. The body becomes unable to regulate its core temperature. Sweating stops and body cannot rid itself on excess heat. Signs include confusion, loss of consciousness, and seizures.
  • Heat exhaustion – body’s response to loss of water and salt from heavy sweating. Signs include headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, irritability, thirst, and heavy sweating.
  • Heat cramps – caused by loss of body salts and fluid during sweating. Low salt levels in muscles cause painful cramps. Tired muscles are usually those affected most by cramps.
  • Heat rash – known as prickly heat, heat rash is skin irritation caused by sweat that does not evaporate from the skin. It is the most common problem with hot work environments.

For a more comprehensive list of symptoms and first aid tips, visit the OSHA Heat Illnesses page.

Suffered Heat-Illness While Working

If you suffered a heat-related illness while working outside due to your employer’s lack of training and prevention, call our Ohio work injury lawyers at 800.637.8170. If your employer knowingly put you and other employees in danger, not allowing for the proper caution during hot temperatures, they may be held liable for your injuries.

 

LH 

Charles Boyk
is a personal injury attorney and author practicing law in Ohio. 419-241-1395
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