It has been an extremely hot summer in the United States. Most people who work outdoors along the East Coast are accustomed to high summer temperatures. However, reminders about the ways extreme heat can injure Connecticut workers serve several important purposes. For example, they help workers:
- Remain aware of the types of injuries or illnesses heat can cause
- Identify the symptoms of heat illnesses in their own bodies
- Spot a potential heat illness in co-workers
Minor heat injuries include heat rash and heat cramps. A rash caused by heat typically only causes discomfort and does not lead to serious injury. Heat cramps are also not typically serious. However, the worker's supervisor should make sure the employee rests in the shade until the cramps go away. If they persist, the worker should seek a medical opinion.
Two potentially life-threatening types of injuries or illnesses caused by heat are heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include rapid heartbeat, dizziness, nausea and cool but moist skin to name a few. A worker suffering heat exhaustion needs immediate shade, water and cool compresses. If the condition worsens or persists, the worker needs medical treatment as soon as possible.
Heat stroke is very serious and can be life threatening. Symptoms of heat stroke are many and include seizures, fainting, confusion, very high body temperature and excessive sweating. Victims of heat stroke may also have dry and hot skin instead of moist sweaty skin. Immediate medical treatment is crucial for workers with heat stroke to survive. While waiting for help, coworkers should try to cool the victim and give him or her water.
Taking steps to prevent heat injuries is the best way to stay safe when working in hot environments. If illness or injury does occur, employees can depend on workers' compensation to replace any lost wages caused by the injury and to pay for medical treatment. Should any obstacles arise to prevent access to workers' compensation, have a legal professional review your case.