Working in hot weather can make existing health conditions worse, impair a worker’s judgment, and lead to dehydration.
Understandably, many people love summertime. The weather is warm, the sun is out, and an overall sense of happiness is in the air. However, while summertime may be a great time for picnics and vacations, it can also be a dangerous time for workers and often leads to workplace injuries.
What is it about hot weather that makes it so dangerous for workers?
One of the biggest dangers of working in hot weather is dehydration. When our bodies become dehydrated, we feel dizzy, lightheaded, and fatigued. This can lead to accidents on the job, as well as heat stroke, which can be fatal.
To prevent dehydration, workers should drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, even if they’re not thirsty. Water is always the best choice, but sports drinks can also help replenish electrolytes.
If you start to feel any of the symptoms of dehydration, it’s important to take a break in the shade and drink fluids immediately. If you or someone you know starts to experience heat stroke (symptoms include confusion, fainting, or vomiting), it’s important to call 911 immediately.
Hot Weather Can Make Existing Conditions Worse
Hot weather can also make existing medical conditions worse. For example, people with diabetes may have trouble regulating their blood sugar in the heat, while people with heart conditions may find that their heart rate increases in the heat. This can lead to serious health complications and, in some cases, death.
If you have a medical condition that the heat could exacerbate, it’s important to take extra precautions when working in hot weather. This may include drinking more fluids, taking breaks more often, and wearing lighter clothing. You should also make sure your employer is aware of your condition so they can take steps to keep you safe.
Hot Weather Can Impair Judgment
When we’re hot, we may not be thinking as clearly as we should be, and this can lead us to make poor decisions. For example, we may decide to take a shortcut that leads to an accident, or we may not notice a hazard we would normally see.
To avoid accidents, it’s important to take breaks often and stay hydrated. If you feel lightheaded or dizzy, it’s important to sit down and rest in the shade immediately.
Employers’ Responsibility to Providing a Safe Working Environment
Employers have a responsibility to provide their employees a safe working environment. And while they cannot do much about the weather, there are steps they can take to help protect their employees from the dangers of hot weather.
Some of these steps include:
- Providing access to shade and water
- Scheduling breaks
- Allowing workers to wear lighter clothing, if possible
Failure to take these steps can lead to serious accidents and even death. Fortunately, through the workers ‘ compensation system, injured workers can get the help they need to recover.
If you’ve been injured on the job, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you navigate the claims process and fight for the benefits you deserve.
At the Law Office of James M. Hoffman, we have over 30 years of experience handling workers’ compensation claims. We know the ins and outs of the Missouri workers compensation system and are here to help injured workers get the benefits they deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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