Outside workers: know the risk of heat exhaustion

On Behalf of | Jun 29, 2018 | Firm News

Alabama residents are used to the high heat by now. In the summer, temperatures hover around ninety degrees and can soar to nearly a hundred degrees every so often.

With hot conditions, occupational heat exposure may spike. Workers and employers need to be aware of the hazards from heat and sun.

What is heat exhaustion?

When a worker is either in a hot environment for too long or the heat is too high, they may develop heat exhaustion. This illness is much more than feeling sluggish, although that can be a symptom.

Heat exhaustion can be a serious health condition that requires immediate intervention. A worker might feel dizzy or nauseous and experience cramping. Their body may rapidly dehydrate as their sweat fails to cool the body. Like a machine, a person may shut down if they overheat – also known as a heat stroke.

Who is at risk?

Anyone who works outside this summer has a higher chance of suffering heat exhaustion. Employees who work inside may also be at risk if the area itself generates heat.

High-risk jobs include:

  • Construction
  • Cooks
  • Facility and lawn care
  • Agriculture
  • Firefighting

Many of these jobs involve constant movement or high demands on the body. Physical activity warms the body as it is, so a hot environment only adds danger.

How can workers stay safe?

Workers should take restful breaks throughout their shift, but particularly as soon as heat exhaustion starts. Cool compresses, water and air conditioning can allow workers to stay healthy.

Unless the worker has a chance to cool down, they might suffer a potentially deadly stroke. Non-fatal strokes can still cause irreparable harm or paralysis. Workplace safety policies should be in place to protect employees from life-changing injuries, which could also keep the worker from continuing to earn money.

FindLaw Network