Summer can be a difficult season for workers who must be outdoors or who work in facilities that are not temperature controlled. When the temperatures increase, it can lead to an increased chance of a worker contracting a heat-related illness. However, with certain preventative measures and adequate training, it is possible to prevent some heat illnesses and keep Ohio workers safe.
Heat illness is something that both workers and employers should take seriously. Safety starts with awareness and education, and if you work outside, you should have access to training that allows to you know how to recognize, avoid and treat heat-related illnesses.
The repercussions and signs of heat-illness
Heat exposure can lead to serious illness and even death if not treated properly and promptly. Some of the most common sicknesses and side effects caused by heat exhaustion and exposure include:
- Heat stroke
- Heat rash
- Heat exhaustion
When workers are outdoors, drink little, do not have sufficient break times and wear inappropriate clothing, it can result in serious consequences for a person’s health. It is useful for workers to know what side effects could signal heat-related illness, the most common of which include the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Extreme thirst
- Wet skin
- Headache, dizziness, fainting spells
When a worker displays some of these symptoms, it is crucial for that individual to receive prompt medical care. Individuals who could be experiencing heat stroke may stop sweating, pass out or have seizures.
Preventing heat illness for Ohio workers
It is impossible to control the weather, but it is possible for employers to put certain things in place to increase safety and awareness of the issues that often accompany heatstroke and other serious illnesses. Some of these safety measures include the following:
- Heat-illness prevention program in place
- Adequate training for workers about the hazards of heat exposure
- Shade, when possible
- Access to cool water
- Schedule adjustments
- Accommodations in workloads
You may think that it will never happen to you or that it is something you do not have to worry about, but you would be wise to know the signs, symptoms and safety measures involved with heat exposure. If you become ill because of your job, including because of heat illness, you have a right to benefits through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. You could recover expenses related to medical care, lost wages and more.