Most Georgia residents welcome summer with open arms after a long, rainy winter. Between sunny days with family or nighttime adventures with friends, summer offers an array of activities for everyone.
Unfortunately, it also offers an array of opportunities for outdoor workers to get heat-related injuries. It’s especially true for construction workers, farmers, firefighters and other full-time employees.
So what can employees do to fight the heat in the summer?
Luckily, most employers know heat stress happens to employees who work for extended periods while outdoors. They know how to fight the effects of heat stress and make work bearable for their staff, including:
- Limit time in the heat or provide a cooling environment for breaks
- Reduce the physical tasks of the position
- Increase staff for specific demands
- Establish work groups or partners to help spot signs of heat stress
- Provide enough water in different work areas and encourage staff to drink often
- Develop a heat alert program in the case of severe heat in the forecast
Employers also have to train employees on how to conduct themselves in extreme heat to avoid heatstroke or heat-related injuries. The training helps prevent any potential issues before they arise.
But what if that doesn’t work?
While employers implement safe practices, it doesn’t stop all injuries. There are thousands of people in the United States that suffer in the heat while working. Frequently, people experience heatstroke, heat rash, severe dehydration, heat cramps and heat syncope – a fainting episode due to extreme heat exposure.
If you notice yourself suffering from extreme fatigue, muscle weakness, headaches, nausea or heavy sweating, you need to take a break and drink water. If you faint or elevated body temperature, seek medical attention immediately.
After treatment, you will want to consider workers’ compensation to cover the costs of the medical visit and any lost wages. In Georgia, you file a claim to the State Board of Workers’ Compensation and follow their process from there.