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Dangers associated with excessive heat in the workplace

Published on Apr 28, 2015 at 1:20 pm in General Blogs.

As Maryland workers may know, exposure to heat may have an effect on a person’s health. Employers should inform workers about the problems associated with heat exposure and alert workers to the signs and symptoms. In addition, it is important to know what to do if heat exposure causes health problems and structure a plan to prevent or deal with working in a hot environment.

Heat exposure usually occurs under certain circumstances. These include a combination of both humidity and heat with reduced air movement. The workers might not consume adequate amounts of water and might be consistently exposed to the sun. Heat stress may be exacerbated by the worker’s physical activity and the use of protective clothing.

One of the most serious illnesses associated with heat exposure is heat stroke. This emergency situation occurs when the body temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The worker may appear confused, experience seizures and become unconscious. When this happens, it is vital to begin cooling the person off with cool or cold compresses. The use of a fan or other means to circulate air is important. Heat exhaustion is another health problem. Symptoms are less acute but may include headache, nausea, confusion, dizziness, irritability, sweating and thirst with a body temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Getting the individual to drink water, cool down and go to a medical clinic are ways to handle this situation.

Precautions might help alleviate heat-induced workplace injuries. In the event that a worker is overcome by heat exhaustion or heat stroke, he or she may incur medical bills and be unable to work. Speaking to an attorney about eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits may be advisable.

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