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Workplace Injuries Caused by the Extreme Heat in Summer

The summer time months are dangerous for workers who must work outside in the extreme heat of summer for long periods of time. Every summer, thousands of people suffer work related heat illness and injuries, and in 2010, more than 30 people died due to heat stroke working outside. Construction workers, gardeners, landscapers, laborers, and road maintenance workers are the most at risk, but even car salesmen, airport baggage handlers, and others who spend a lot of time outdoors in summer months can suffer.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) indicates most work related heat injuries could be prevented if employees were given water breaks, shade, and regular intervals of rest during the extreme heat of summer.

Symptoms and Warning Signs of Heat Injuries

When an individual is unable to regulate their body temperature, heat related injuries like heat stroke, heat cramps and heat exhaustion may occur.

Heat Stroke: the symptoms of heat stroke include either an individual who is not sweating at all or who is sweating profusely; a body temperature over 105 degrees; confused behavior or loss of consciousness. Heat stroke is extremely serious and anyone suspected of having heat stroke must receive medical care immediately – call the ambulance and then move the victim to a shaded place. Sponge the victim with cool water and fan them. If the person is conscious, give a half a glass of water every 15 minutes.

Heat Exhaustion: the symptoms include profusely sweating, feeling weak and dizzy, looking pale or flushed in the face, nausea, having a near normal body temperature. Start by moving the victim to a cool and shaded place, elevate their feet and give a half a glass of water every fifteen minutes while you wait for medical help to arrive.

Heat Cramps: symptoms of heat cramps involve cramping and pain in the muscles doing the hardest work. You probably don’t need medical attention, but drink half a glass of water every fifteen minutes.

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