Excessive workplace humidity increases dehydration, heat illnesses, and allergy risks, potentially leading to workers’ compensation claims.
Humidity may not seem like an alarming threat in the workplace. However, excessive humidity can pose serious health hazards.
Humidity describes the amount of moisture in the air. Normal indoor humidity levels are typically between 30% to 50%. Anything above 60% can harm your health and damage electronics and other crucial systems. Below are some of the most common health hazards associated with high humidity.
As strange as it sounds, dehydration is among the most common risks associated with excessive humidity in the workplace. Workers in excessively humid areas tend to sweat more.
Sweating is a biological response to excessive heat. The body releases sweat, which evaporates from the skin, leaving a cooling effect. However, in humid environments, the atmosphere is already saturated with water; sweat doesn’t evaporate to cool down the body. This means you’ll continue to stay hot.
Sweating more leads to increased dehydration. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches, a lack of concentration, and drowsiness. Drinking water doesn’t address the issue since the body keeps sweating.
Some common warning signs of dehydration include:
- Extreme thirst
- Dry mouth
- Dry skin
A Heat illness describes any complication where the body’s internal temperature rises to abnormal levels. They include heatstroke, heat rash, heat cramps, and heat exhaustion. If left untreated, heat illnesses could cause permanent brain damage or organ failure.
Humidity causes health illnesses because it compromises the body’s cooling ability. Sweat cannot evaporate to cool your body when the air is extremely humid. The excess heat can overwhelm your body, leading to heat stroke or other heat illnesses.
Increased Risk of Allergies
While warm, humid environments might be unconducive to workers, they’re perfect for the growth and proliferation of mold. Mold and other fungi thrive in moist and warm environments like humid workplaces.
The proliferation of mold increases the amount of mold spores in the air, triggering allergic reactions in employees. You’ll notice increased sneezing, coughing, and runny noses among employees despite the arm temperatures. These are allergic reactions to the presence of mold spores in the air.
The mold spores can also irritate the lungs and cause breathing problems. Wearing a mask helps mitigate allergic reactions, but it may feel uncomfortable on the face, given the high temperatures.
St. Louis Workers Compensation Lawyers
Consider leaving all the windows open to allow proper ventilation if you work in a humid area. Employers should also consider installing vent fans in appropriate areas to eliminate excess moisture. Doing so goes a long way toward reducing the health risks associated with excess humidity at work and making the workplace more comfortable.
Have you recently suffered an injury or illness at work? You may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Contact The Law Office of James M. Hoffman to learn more about your legal rights and ensure they are protected after a work injury.
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