It doesn’t take much to sustain a heat-related injury when working outside. Sometimes, a few extra minutes in the sun can be the difference between sustaining an injury or being fine. Heat-related injuries can be life-threatening and can cause long lasting effects. This blog will talk more about heat-related injuries, how to prevent them, and what to do if you have suffered one at work.
What Are Heat-Related Injuries?
Heat-related injuries are cause by prolonged time in extreme heat and are common among construction workers or people in other outdoor occupations. Some heat-related injuries include:
Heat Rash – A skin rash caused by heat combined with excessive sweating.
Heat Exhaustion – A condition in which one loses salt and water in their body due to excessive sweating. Heat exhaustion can result in headache, fatigue, muscle cramps, high body temperatures or abnormally slow or fast heart rate.
Heat Cramps – Painful cramps or spasms in a muscle due to malnutrition or dehydration.
Heatstroke – The most dangerous heat-related injury, heatstroke is when ones temperature rises to 104 degrees or above in minutes. It can result in lose of consciousness, rapid heart rate, vomiting, fatigue, nausea, and death if not treated.
Preventing Heat-Related Injuries
However serious these injuries may be, there are a few simple steps one can take to substantially reduce your risk.
Hydrate Often – Continuously drink water throughout the day, before you feel thirsty.
Shield Skin – Shading your face with a hat, wearing lightweight clothes and applying sunblock throughout the day can greatly reduce your risk of sunburn and heat rash. Further, shielding skin generally keeps your body at a lower temperature.
Take Breaks – Frequently relax in an air-conditioned room and hydrate, even if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms.
Symptom Awareness – If you start to feel dizzy, lightheaded, fatigued, nausea, thirsty, or muscles cramps, take a break. Sit in the shade or an air conditioned room and drink water until you don’t feel the symptoms anymore. If the symptoms get worse or someone becomes unresponsive, loses consciousness or has an elevated temperature, they need immediate medical assistance.
Employer Injury Prevention
Employers must equip their employees with the necessary tools to prevent heat-related injuries. This includes:
- Access to clean drinking water
- Allowing time and providing shaded areas for breaks
- Educating employees on the symptoms of heat-related injuries
If you experience either a heat-related injury, or lasting effects from working in extreme heat, you may be eligible for workers compensation. For more information, contact a workers’ compensation attorney in your area. Dean and his team would be more than happy to help you get the compensation you deserve.