Heat exposure: an often overlooked danger in the workplace

There are many dangers faced on the job, especially during construction and manufacturing. There is no other hazard more dangerous than heat exposure, especially during the steamy summer months. Heat exposure is a risk many forget they face no matter what job they're doing. However, if you work in construction, landscaping, or any job outdoors, you are especially at risk. But what harm can heat exposure do? Here are several injuries that may result from work-related heat exposure:

Accidents or injuries

Heat exposure can lead to on-the-job accidents or injuries. Excessive sweating, dizziness, or muscle weakness can cause slips, falls, dropping of tools, or heavy machinery accidents.

Fainting

Prolonged heat exposure can cause fainting. Fainting can cause serious injuries, especially to construction workers. A construction worker may fall off a beam or drop heavy tools, causing injury to themselves or others.

Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a common illness caused by heat exposure. If left untreated, it can lead to heat stroke, which may be fatal. Symptoms include headache, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, sweating, or fever. Heat exhaustion can be dangerous since the person suffering may think they are simply hungry, thirsty, or working too hard.

Heat stroke

Heat stroke is a very serious illness. If left untreated, permanent disability or death can occur. Here, you stop sweating altogether, as the body's heat regulation mechanism has shut down. Symptoms include confusion, coma, sweating, hot skin, unconsciousness or seizures.

Rhabdomyolysis

Rhabdomyolysis is a very serious illness that results from heat exposure. Yet, it's one you may not have heard about. It's a condition in which an electrolyte imbalance leads to the breakdown of muscle tissues, including those of the heart. Rhabdomyolysis can lead to heart arrhythmias, seizures, and heart or kidney damage. Symptoms include muscle cramps or weakness. Sometimes, there may be no symptoms at all.

If you've suffered an injury related to heat exposure, or you've been injured on-the-job, contact the law offices of Katherine L. Niven & Associates. Excessive heat exposure can cause serious long-term effects that may require intensive medical treatment. Fortunately, such treatment may be covered by workers' compensation. Our attorneys can ensure that you receive the benefits you are entitled to by law.

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