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High-temperature workplaces may cause illness and injuries

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2023 | Workplace Injuries |

The risk of dangerous illnesses such as heatstroke increases in high-temperature environments. According to OSHA.gov, thousands of employees fall ill each year due to exposure to high temperatures at work.

Whether working indoors or outside, heat-related illnesses often occur because of poor environmental conditions. Physical activities such as lifting heavy objects also raise employees’ body temperatures. Without sufficient acclimatization, workers could find themselves exposed to serious heat hazards.

The human body needs to adjust to a hot environment

When seasons change, many outside work environments become hotter and require adjustment. Physically active employees need to build up their tolerance to heat as the outside temperature increases. The process may take some time. Employees who cannot cool down enough could experience physical injuries.

During the spring season, for example, outdoor construction sites may suddenly become warmer or more humid. Body heat may also unexpectedly rise while working inside. Changes in an indoor environment’s air circulation or a malfunctioning furnace could also raise body temperatures quickly.

Recognizing the symptoms of heat-related illnesses may help prevent serious injuries

Environmental changes may increase the risks of heat illness, especially for those employees with medical issues. As noted by the Mayo Clinic, heatstroke, which reflects the most severe form of heat injury, occurs when body temperatures reach 104 degrees. Headaches, confusion and a racing heartbeat may indicate a developing heat-related injury. Ignoring the signs could lead to kidney, heart or brain damage. Employees may help their bodies adjust to increased temperatures by drinking water and wearing loose clothing.

Workers may begin experiencing strain while performing physical activities in a hot environment. Stopping, resting or hydrating could help the body to adjust. A workers’ compensation claim may provide benefits if and when heat-related workplace injuries occur.