Construction workers face plenty of easily identifiable job hazards. Heavy equipment, extreme heights, and various power tools all present unique injury risks. During warmer weather, another potentially deadly threat is also heat stroke.
According to the United States Department of Labor (USDL), up to 70% of outdoor-related job fatalities are related to heat acclimation. Furthermore, the USDL identifies construction as one of the most at-risk occupations for heat-related injuries.
How serious are heat-related injuries?
While being hot is uncomfortable, becoming overheated is dangerous. If your body temperature rises to the point of heat stroke, it can be life-threatening. Even without a fatal outcome becoming too hot can have a lasting effect on your ability to work, including:
- Adverse cognitive functions, including dizziness and confusion.
- Impaired mobility, including being unable to walk or fainting.
- Symptoms of illness like nausea, vomiting, headaches, or generalized weakness.
If you experience heat exhaustion on the job, it could result in lost wages due to time off work. Serious injury, like death or coma, may become more likely if someone suffering from heat exhaustion attempts to work through the condition.
Protecting yourself from heat-related injuries
Some characteristics may make a person more vulnerable to heat stroke. People of a certain age or those who take medications may be more vulnerable to the effects of the sun. If you work construction, there may be no avoiding the summer heat.
Still, you can do a few things to protect yourself from heat-related injuries. Taking time to acclimate to weather conditions, staying hydrated, and taking more frequent breaks can help reduce your risk. Suppose you’ve suffered a work-related heat injury. In that case, you might want to learn more about worker’s compensation laws to help you recoup any damages lost.