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Protecting Texas Workers from Heat Illness

With the warm weather just around the corner, it is a good time to discuss the dangers of working in excessive heat. A lot of workers are not aware that if they work in dangerously hot conditions, that they could die from heat stroke.

In many occupations, workers are required to work in hot, humid environments for extended periods of time. This is especially true for construction workers, roofers, painters, gardeners, factory workers, and people who clean pools during the summer.

What they may not realize is that if their bodies are unable to maintain a normal temperature, they can experience the effects of heat illness and death can follow.

We’re not just talking about people who work outside, plenty of employees work in hot environments that are indoors, and they too are at risk.

Exposure to Heat in the Workplace

Working in hot environments can make you sick; the biggest concern is heat stroke. When your body’s temperature regulating system fails, and your body temperature rises to critical levels (over 104°F), you can suffer from heat stroke.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency, and if left unchecked it can result in death!

Signs of heat stroke:

  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

If a fellow worker exhibits the signs of heat stroke, call 911 right away. Until the ambulance arrives, move the worker into a cool, shady area and remove as much of his clothing as possible. Get the worker wet with cold water, and circulate the air to speed up the cooling process.

It helps to wet the worker’s clothes and place the cold, wet clothes on his body. You can also put ice on the worker – anything that you can do to cool down their core temperature.

Heat Exhaustion

The next most serious heat-related health concern is heat exhaustion. The signs of heat exhaustion include headache, nausea, dizziness, confusion, heavy sweating, weakness, and a body temperature that is over 104°F.

If a worker is displaying the symptoms of heat exhaustion, remove him from the hot area and give him cold liquids to drink. If the symptoms get worse, call 911 immediately.

Job-Related Factors that Contribute to Heat Illness

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the following work-related factors may contribute to heat illness:

  • Humidity
  • High temperatures
  • A lack of fluid consumption
  • Exposure to direct sunlight (without shade)
  • Exposure to extreme heat
  • Limited air circulation (no breeze or wind)
  • Being physically active
  • Wearing bulky clothing or protective equipment

As someone who works outside in the sun, or indoors in hot environments, it’s important that your employer be knowledgeable and sensitive to the effects of heat illness.

All workers, regardless of their occupation have the right to work in conditions that don’t increase the risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, or in worst cases death from heat stroke.

If you, or someone you love has suffered personal injuries and damages as a result of a work-related injury or illness, contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC to discuss filing a claim for compensation with a Plano personal injury attorney.