Summer days can be a lot of fun; however, millions of U.S. workers are regularly exposed to high temperatures of the season. Although heat-related illness is preventable, each year thousands of workers fall ill due to exposure to heat, and in some cases…it is fatal.
Working in a hot environment can trigger ailments that include heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke – consider them a medical emergency. The symptoms of heat exhaustion include feeling faint or dizzy, excessive sweating, pale/cool and clammy skin, nausea or vomiting, rapid/weak pulse, and muscle cramps. Workers who are experiencing heat exhaustion need to get to a cool, air-conditioned place quickly. If fully conscious, they should drink water, take a cool shower, or cool their bodies with water or a cold compress. If untreated, heat exhaustion can cause heat cramps or even heat stroke.
Workers with heatstroke may experience a headache but no sweating, and have a body temperature above 103° F. Other symptoms are red, hot, dry skin, nausea or vomiting, and loss of consciousness. Call 911 if a case of heatstroke is suspected, then take action to cool the worker until help arrives.
Some tips to prevent heat related illnesses include:
- Drink water every 15 minutes
- If working outside, take rest breaks in the shade to cool down
- Monitor co-workers for symptoms of heat-related illnesses
- Use sunscreen to prevent sunburn
Feel free to copy this and post on your job site for everyone to see. Work safe and make sure you are watching out for your coworkers and family this summer! Until next time.