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Workers in Pennsylvania may be at risk for heat illnesses

In case you have been spending time in Antarctica this year, it is incredibly hot this summer! Consequently, you might be one of the Pennsylvania workers at risk for heat-related illnesses. Such illnesses can cause extreme sickness and even death, so it is important for the Pennsylvania workforce to gain an understanding of how the severe heat can have a dangerous effect.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the following industries are at risk for heat illnesses in hot summer weather.

-- Firefighters-- Construction workers-- Farmers and miners-- Bakery and factory workers-- Boiler room workers-- Agricultural and electrical workers-- Baggage handlers-- Groundskeepers and landscapers

Additionally, those who work in direct sunlight, wear heavy protective gear or perform strenuous labor for long periods may also be at risk. A couple of the most serious heat-related illnesses are heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Either of these are dangerous, but heat stroke can be life-threatening.

OSHA's safety tips for working in the heat include:

-- Drinking water every 15 minutes-- Cooling the body with rest in the shade-- Wearing light-colored clothing and a hat-- Watching coworkers for signs of illness-- Acclimating to the heat slowly and taking it easy the first few days

It is also a good idea to learn the symptoms of heat-related illnesses. Heat stroke symptoms include fainting, confusion, profuse sweating or hot dry skin and extremely high body temperature. Heat exhaustion symptoms include dizziness, nausea, headache, heavy sweating, thirst and weakness.

OSHA offers a wealth of resources for Pennsylvania workers who believe their work environments are unsafe. Alternatively, a Pennsylvania-based worker's compensation attorney can also help those who have become ill due to unfair work demands in at-risk environments.

Source: Phoenixville Patch, "Working Outside In Hot Phoenixville Weather: Who's At Risk?," Justin Heinze, Aug. 03, 2015

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