Since snow is on the ground for half the year in Minnesota, manual laborers are taking advantage of the summer weather and getting as much work done outside as possible. Although we can have really cold winters, we can also have very hot summers, and that heat can present challenges for workers who work in the sun all day. Heat-related injuries are very common during the summer, so it’s important to know the warning signs and how to stay safe on the job in the heat.
Knowing The Warning Signs
We’ll get to some safety tips for working in the sun later in this blog, but for now, we want to talk about the warning signs of heat-related illnesses and injuries. If you or someone you work with is exhibiting these signs, odds are they are experiencing heat illness:
- Difficulty breathing
- Rapid heartbeat
- Slurred speech
Also, one sign to keep an eye on, whether you are a supervisor or working in a team, is everyone else’s ability to regulate heat. In other words, are they able to expel heat by sweating? If you lose the ability to sweat, you’re are at risk of heat-related injuries because you can no longer regulate your body’s temperature. Losing the ability to sweat and losing consciousness are two clear signs that someone is dealing with a heat-related illness.
Preventing Heat-Related Injuries
Knowing the warning signs is important, but so too is actively preventing against heat-related injuries by taking some steps to be prepared for the heat. For starters, job site managers need to ensure that their is plenty of water available to workers. Odds are they will bring their own canteen, but you should still provide water so they can stay hydrated throughout the day. Next, be sure you are taking enough breaks, especially on the hottest of days. A heat-related injury will set you back much longer than a couple extra 10-minute breaks, so it’s worth it to keep your crew safe.
Also, it’s everyone’s job on the crew to be wary of the heat index and look out for signs of trouble in themselves and in others. When it’s hot out, it’s a good idea to work in pairs or groups so that everyone has a partner to keep an eye on them. Wearing protective hats to stay shaded, staying cool with wet rags and pacing yourself so you don’t overstress your body are other tips to keep in mind.
At the end of the day, it’s everyone’s job to prevent heat-related injuries. Even though you may work on a competent crew, injuries do happen, and you have the right to receive compensation. At Margolis Law Firm, we’ve helped numerous individuals get compensation for their heat-related injuries, and we can do the same for you. Contact our firm for more information.
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