With summer half over, it’s important to remember that as temperatures rise, so too does the risk for heat-related workplace injuries.
With summer upon us and temperatures well into the 90s or even higher, the risk of workplace injuries increases. The risk is especially high for anyone working in fields such as construction, farming, and other industries that require employees to be outside for extended periods of time. Many of these types of jobs end up logging long hours in the summer months because they have to complete work that can’t be completed in the colder months. Because of these long hours and unsafe conditions that arise from prolonged exposure to higher heat, its no surprise that many workers suffer some sort of injury each year.
What are some of the most common summer work injuries, though? Let’s take a look.
Heatstroke is one of the most dangerous types of workplace injuries that is more likely to occur during the summer months. The condition occurs when your body overheats from spending long periods of time in hot temperatures without proper rest and hydration. Construction workers, farmers, and landscape workers are among those most at risk for developing heatstroke because they tend to spend long hours working in the heat.
Just how serious is heat stroke, though? Well, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were a reported 7,415 deaths from heatstroke and other heat-related illnesses between 1999 and 2010 in the U.S. That breaks down to about 618 deaths each year. Symptoms to look out for include:
- Racing Heart Beat
- Muscle Cramps
- Elevated Body Temperature
When left untreated, dehydration can be life-threatening and is one of the most common work-related injuries that happen during warmer months. Working outside for extended periods of time without proper hydration may result in symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, fainting, other unpleasant symptoms. To avoid dehydration, all one has to do is drink a sufficient amount of fluids and electrolytes and rest as needed.
Oftentimes summertime means more cars on the road traveling for vacation. Additionally, construction projects are more common during summer months than other times of the year. As a result, more car accidents happen during the warmer months, which is bad news for employees who have to operate vehicles during this time. In addition to an increased risk of workers getting in car accidents, road and construction workers are at a higher risk for being hit by passing vehicles on on-site machinery.
It’s no secret that prolonged sun exposure increases your risk of developing certain skin conditions, including sunburns and skin cancer. Sunburn happens when the skin is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet light for extended periods of time until the skin is no longer able to protect itself. As a result, the skin becomes red and sometimes painful blisters and swelling may occur. Repeated prolonged exposure may even result in skin cancer.
The heat can be uncomfortable for anyone but is especially uncomfortable for anyone working in the construction, farming, and other outdoor industries during the warmer months. To avoid heat-related illnesses and injuries such as heat stroke, sunburn, and other accidents, workers should take adequate rest breaks and drink plenty of fluids.