The Danger of Heat-Related Work Injuries in The Summer
Summer is approaching, and if this mild winter was any indication, it’s going to be a hot one. Especially in Georgia, where the average summer afternoon reaches a temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit, those who are working outside need to make sure they are taking the right steps to protect themselves.
For people like people in fields like construction, agriculture, and landscaping, the intense southern heat and humidity are more than just an annoyance; it’s a genuine occupational hazard. Working in the hot sun for a long time can lead to heatstroke, heat exhaustion, and other serious injuries. It is important to remember that these are work-related injuries and should be taken very seriously. If your job exposes you to intense southern heat, there are a few things you should know about heat-related work injuries.
Symptoms of Heat-related Injuries
Heat-related injuries like heat stroke and exhaustion occur when your body has been working in the sun for too long and can no longer cool itself by sweating. Overweight or older workers are considered especially at risk for heatstroke and exhaustion, especially if they have high blood pressure. Cramps or rashes on the skin are common early indicators of heat exhaustion, but if you continue working in the sun, the condition can worsen very quickly and evolve into heatstroke. Here are some of the hallmark symptoms of heatstroke and exhaustion.
- Heavy Sweating
- Weakness, fatigue, or nausea
- Muscle cramps
- Flushed complexion
- Severe “throbbing” headache
- Dizziness or confusion
- Slurring speech
If you have been working in the direct sun and begin experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important that you stop working and get out of the sun immediately. If your job has exposed you to serious heat stroke or exhaustion, an experienced attorney may be able to help.
Treatment & Prevention
Just like most workplace injuries, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are easier to prevent than they are to treat. The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration suggests the following three simple instructions to prevent heat-related workplace injuries: Rest, Water, Shade. Outdoor workers are encouraged to take regular water breaks and drink even if they don’t feel thirsty. It is also important to get out of the sun regularly. Periodic water and shade breaks can help keep heat exhaustion from happening in the first place.
Unfortunately, preventing these injuries proactively is not always possible. If you have experienced heat stroke or exhaustion while on the job and would like to know more about seeking workers’ compensation, contact Workers’ Compensation From The Law Offices of Darwin F. Johnson today to learn more about your rights.