According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 8,000 people died from heat-related illnesses between 1999 and 2010. This statistic is devastating, due to the fact that heat stress is entirely preventable. It is officially the hottest time of the year in the United States and therefore, it is important to increase awareness about heat-related illnesses.
What is Heat Stress?
An employee may experience heat stress when exposed to hot temperatures while working. Heat stress is dangerous and may eventually lead to other health complications. An employee experiencing heat stress may encounter heat exhaustion or several other heat-related illnesses or injuries, including the potentially deadly heat stroke.
Heat stress occurs when an individual’s body is unable to get rid of excess heat. This can be extremely dangerous due to the body’s reaction to a high internal temperature. A hot environment may prevent one from adjusting to a stable internal temperature. If the external temperature is as hot or hotter than one’s internal temperature, it may be difficult for one to cool down. This can lead to several health problems, since the body is storing heat. Some health risks include increased heart rate and a high core temperature.
Individuals at Risk for Heat Stress
Any individual can experience heat stress in high temperatures. However, some individuals are more at risk than others.
Employees with a high risk of experiencing heat stress include:
- Outdoor workers
- Employees who work around fire
- Individuals who are 65-years-old or older
- Workers who are obese
- Individuals suffering from heart disease
- Those taking certain medications
Heat-Related Illness Symptoms
There are several heat-related illnesses, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Employees should be aware of the symptoms associated with these illnesses.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
- Muscle cramping
Symptoms of heat stroke include:
- A high body temperature
- A rapid pulse
- Throbbing headache
- Loss of consciousness
How to Avoid Heat Stress
It is important for employees to find ways to avoid heat-related illnesses and injuries. In order to do so, an employee should find ways to keep themselves cool while on the job. Common ways to achieve this goal is to increase ventilation, keep fans on site, keep cool water close and accessible to workers, and utilize reflective shields.
Training is another effective tool to help decrease the risk of injuries in the workplace.
Common training topics include:
- Recognition of signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and proper way to administer first aid
- The importance of notifying supervisors of coworkers who may be affected by heat-related illnesses
- How drugs and alcohol affect the body’s ability to handle heat
Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Employees Obtain Compensation for Work-Related Injuries or Illness
If you or a loved one suffered an injury or illness at work, contact a Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. Our lawyers work closely with clients in order to obtain the compensation that they deserve. To arrange a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 302-888-1221 or 215-569-8488 today. We proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey, including the areas of Wilmington, Dover, Newark, and Middletown, Delaware.