Thousands of workers whose jobs require them to be outdoors are at risk for heat-related workplace illnesses, including heat stress and heat stroke, during the summer. People who work in construction, agriculture, logging, and the oil and gas industries most often have to cope with high temperatures.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has pointers for employers to reduce the risk of heat stroke and heat-related illnesses among workers.
Some conditions worsen the risks. For instance, workers who wear heavy, inappropriate clothing and those who have a high degree of direct sun exposure to the skin are more likely to suffer from heat stroke. Workers need frequent rest and water breaks and should be encouraged to cool off after long periods of exposure to heat.
Workers of all ages may suffer symptoms of heat-related illnesses, which may not be evident until a worker loses consciousness or shows symptoms of disorientation.
Heat stroke can actually be fatal. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 423 worker fatalities between 1992 and 2006 were linked to heat exposure
Michael Parsons is an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer, representing injured workers in the metro Atlanta region and helping them recover the workers’ compensation benefits that they have earned.