Heat-related injuries can occur in a variety of job conditions. It is imperative for anyone who works outdoors or in hot conditions to be aware of what can happen when the body overheats. These are preventable issues by providing workers with a way to cool off.
It is easy to assume that individuals inflicted with a heat-related injury will know that they need to cool off. In some cases, this isn’t the way that it happens. Instead, overheated folks will assume that they are fine, but they will begin to act in an abnormal manner. Here are some important points to know about heatstroke and other heat-related conditions:
Temperature, humidity and activity
There are three things that can increase the risk that someone will suffer from a heat-related condition. The temperature and humidity combine to create the heat index, or how hot it actually feels in the area. The activity level of people out in the heat also matters since overexertion can make the effects of the heat more pronounced.
Another factor that plays a role in some incidents of heatstroke is clothing. When working in heat, light clothing that allows you to cool off is necessary. Unfortunately, some workers, such as those who work in glass-making factories and some who work around chemicals, need to wear long sleeves and pants. Add in headgear, such as welding masks or hardhats, and the heat can have difficulty escaping from the body.
Employers must be cautious
Workers who are exposed to heat must not be expected to go too long without having something to drink. Dehydration can lead to heatstroke or even heat exhaustion occurring more rapidly than it would in a fully hydrated person. Because of the need to drink often, workers will need frequent breaks to do this and to use the restroom. When the job site is away from bathrooms, portable toilets can encourage workers to stay hydrated since they know they can relieve themselves as needed. As a sanitation measure, a hand washing station should be set up nearby.
Workers who are showing signs of heatstroke, such as having a sudden headache, changes in behavior like seeming confused or a lack of sweating, need to be cooled off immediately. Emergency medical care is critical at this point or there is a chance that the work-related condition can be fatal. The person might need extensive care and may not be able to return to work for a while.