Summer months can be brutal for workers in many industries. From construction work in the direct sunlight to factory work in an industrial building with poor ventilation, workers can be at risk for numerous heat-related sicknesses such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rash. The most extreme cases can result in death.
Prevention of heat stress is largely tied to understanding the risk factors and actively working to counteract them. The risk factors can include weather elements such as high temperature, high humidity, direct sun exposure and little to no wind relief. A workplace supervisor can prevent heat illness by following simple steps, including:
- Provide training regarding warning signs and heat stress prevention to all employees
- Provide easy access to cool water throughout the shift
- Modify work schedules to accommodate frequent rest periods in shaded or air-conditioned areas
- Gradually increase workloads to allow employees to ease into higher levels of productivity
- Designate an individual to monitor conditions and provide warnings to those at risk
- Select required gear and clothing more conducive to the extreme heat
There are some warning signs that all supervisors, managers and appointed monitors need to remember:
- Headaches, dizziness or fainting
- Irritability, weakness or confusion
- Physical reactions like thirst, nausea or vomiting
Additionally, an individual might be at risk for heat stroke if he or she suddenly stops sweating.
Workers who are injured on the job are most likely eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. If you were hurt or you lost a loved one due to a heat-related illness, it is crucial that you discuss your situation with an experienced attorney. A lawyer can provide guidance and clear answers about the benefits you could potentially receive.