Working in a hot environment isn’t for everyone. Those who are able to work in these conditions have likely built up a tolerance for the heat. It is imperative that companies that employ workers who will have to withstand these temperatures ensure their employees have the tools and protocol to help keep them safe.
Around 50% to 70% of outdoor fatalities that occur in the heat happen during the first few days of a person working in these conditions. This is because the body hasn’t yet acclimated to the temperature. While some might associate temperature extremes with outdoor jobs, it’s also possible to face them indoors.
What types of positions might be subject to extreme heat?
Many outdoor occupations can lead to these types of illnesses. Farming, lifeguarding, landscaping, construction work, roofing, road work, delivery services and operations at gas or oil wells are some examples of the outdoor occupations that can be affected.
Sometimes, people who work indoors can suffer from these heat-related illnesses. People who work directly near a heat source, such as in a bakery, laundry facility, kitchen, steel or iron mill, foundries and electrical utility workers are at risk. Individuals who work in spaces without climate control, such as warehouses, might also have to deal with this.
How can workers remain safe?
Workers who are going to face heat-related challenges should be warned about the possible issues that can come from this. They should be provided information about how to dress for their job and instructed to drink plenty of fluids. Working shorter shifts and taking frequent breaks to cool down can also be beneficial. If possible, air conditioning or fans should be available to help them cool down. When this isn’t possible, having a shaded area might also be beneficial if it’s an outdoor job site.
What are some heat-related illnesses?
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are two common heat-related illnesses that can plague workers. Heat syncope, which is fainting or become dizzy because of the heat is also possible. The risks can be reduced by using proper safety techniques, such as drinking fluids. Heat rash and heat cramps are also possible.
A person who suffers from a heat-related illness that isn’t promptly addressed and treated may suffer catastrophic damage. The medical care and missed time at work can cause tremendous financial strain for the person, so they should get their workers’ compensation claim filed. This can help to cover those medical care costs and might provide them with partial wage replacement benefits.