For Louisiana workers who have labored outdoors, you have likely experienced the brutal, crushing heat during the summers. However, some people may be new to our state or young and unaware of the risks posed by heat-related illnesses. Although workplaces should have measures in place to prevent heat-related illnesses among workers, some employers may neglect safety.
Keep in mind, heat-related illnesses injured 2,630 workers in 2014. An additional 18 died from heat strokes, the most severe type of heat-related illness. Heat exhaustion and heat strokes are a constant danger this time of year.
It is essential to know the symptoms of heat exhaustion, because if left untreated, workers can be at risk for developing heat strokes.
Workers experiencing heat exhaustion may have clammy skin, excessive sweating and fast heartbeats. In addition, workers may experience dizziness, headache and nausea.
If left untreated, heat exhaustion may progress to heat stroke, which can be fatal. Workers experiencing heat stroke may have severe headaches, dizziness, a lack of sweating and muscle cramps. Heat stroke can also cause fainting, seizures, vomiting and flushed skin.
Can Employers Prevent Heat-Related Illnesses?
KLFY recently published a story on a Lafayette roofing company’s strategy for preventing heat-related illnesses. The company in question trains its staff to recognize symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Supervisors allow workers to find a cool place to take 20-minute water breaks throughout the day. Workers are also encouraged to wear long-sleeved shirts and other protective clothing that can absorb sweat and cool down body temperature.
In the event workers experience symptoms of heat stroke or heat exhaustion, it is imperative to immediately call 911. Workers experiencing heat exhaustion or heat stroke should also be moved to a cool area and provided with plenty of water.
The Lafayette workers’ comp attorneys at Galloway Jefcoat offer regular blog updates on workplace safety and personal injury news.