Employees in Pennsylvania who work in physically demanding jobs may experience increased body temperature. Drinking water and replenishing electrolytes can help combat this increase in body temperature. As summer temperatures rise, however, replenishing fluids may not be enough and can result in heat-related illnesses on the job. Being aware of the symptoms of heat-related illness and preventing them can keep employees safe.
Workers who are most affected by the heat
Imagine a construction worker who is roofing a home in the hot July sun. The humidity is high, and the worker is unable to feel cool. He drinks water but eventually run out, so he decides to lay one more row of tile before getting a refill. Moments later, the worker faints, becoming injured on the job. This scenario is extremely common among agriculture, forestry and construction workers. The Center for Disease Control says that most heat-related injuries occur in one of these occupations; many occur to new employees within two weeks of working.
Identifying heat-related illnesses
Preventing heat-related illnesses requires proper hydration, acclimatization to the heat, and breaks to cool off. All employees should be trained to look out for the symptoms of heat-related illnesses in themselves and others and to seek medical attention as needed. These symptoms include:
• Heavy sweating
• Pale, clammy skin
• Fast pulse
• Muscle cramps
Heat and long-term health problems
Heat-related illnesses are not always a short-term problem. They can cause serious damage to the body’s organs. A 2020 study by the Pan American Health Association found that occupational heat exposure was the highest risk factor in chronic kidney disease with a nontraditional origin. Those who experience heat-related illness should file a workers’ compensation claim for help with their work-related injury.
If you experienced kidney injury or failure, or a heart attack, as a result of a heat-related illness, it could have devastating effects on your health and finances. Talk with a Pennsylvania certified specialist workers’ compensation lawyer for help with your claim.