Summertime means warm days and sunshine. We enjoy spending time at family picnics and other outdoor gatherings to make the most of this weather, but it is important to keep in mind some of the dangers that come with the heat. Those who work in physically demanding jobs are often at increased risk of illness or injury during the summer due to heat exposure. This is especially true for those who work in construction.
How can I reduce the risk of heat-related injury?
The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends the following to help reduce the risk of heat related injury include:
- Start slowly. If continuing a current job, note that the heat can come on fast. Do not expect your body to keep working at the same pace it was in cooler weather. Give yourself time to adjust to the heat. The same holds true when starting a new project. Begin slowly and let your body acclimate to the demands that come with working in the heat.
- Take breaks. Getting out of the sun can make a huge difference. Take a break in a shaded area and sip on water to remain hydrated. It is important to note that those who are dealing with dehydration often do not feel thirsty.
- Adjust the work schedule. If possible, adjust the working schedule to make the most of the cooler parts of the day like the earlier morning and later evening.
Common symptoms of a heat related illness include cramping, light-headedness, nausea, confusion, headaches, or a rapid heartrate.
What should I do if I am injured while working?
Those who suffer an injury while on-the-job may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, but the system is not always fair. Those who are injured and are either denied benefits or did not get full coverage can push back. It is a good idea to get more information about your rights in these situations to help better ensure you get your entitled benefits.