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How Construction Workers Can Avoid Heat-Related Injury

construction worker outside reviewing plansSummer is almost here, but temperatures have already started rising, putting construction workers at risk for overheating and other heat-related injuries. If you suffer an injury due to higher temperatures, you may be owed workers’ compensation benefits. However, you can take steps to help lower your risk of injury during the hottest time of the year.

If you or a loved one suffered a heat-related injury, you should seek the counsel of a knowledgeable lawyer at Berry, Smith & Bartell for assistance with your claim. We can explain how your heat-related injury occurred and how to proceed with a workers’ compensation claim.

Jobs Where Overheating is Common

Certain industries expose workers to high temperatures while they are indoors, and others place workers outside in the heat of the summer and sun. The following jobs commonly put workers at risk of heat-related injury:

  • Foundries and manufacturing plants
  • Glass production, brick-firing and rubber product factories
  • Electrical, boiler room, bakery, commercial kitchen and standard kitchen jobs
  • Laundries, food canneries, farms and construction sites
  • Chemical plants, smelteries, mining sites and steam tunnels
  • Landscaping, oil and gas well jobs
  • Emergency response workers, firemen, police officers and EMTs
  • Hazardous waste and hazardous material sites and factories

Wear the Right Clothes

When working inside in high heat environments, you need cool and low-temperature outfits. The problem is, some jobs come with a certain suit that can hold heat in and increase the temperature of the employee.

It is important to notice the following signs of heat-related illness:

  • Substantial sweating
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Constant thirst
  • Muscle cramping and seizing

If any of these heat-injury symptoms appear, the employee may need to take a break or start cooling down.

Make Sure to Take Breaks

Once the temperature inside the building or outside reaches a certain point, the worker should take a break. While this is not always possible when in the middle of a task, the individual should do so when the job duty ends. During break time, the employee should stay hydrated.

Workers need to be particularly cautious if temperatures get above 90 degrees. Make sure not to neglect breaks if you are working in an environment with a temperature above 90 degrees for a long period of time on a given day.

Build Up Your Tolerance to the Heat

Some employees are able to acclimate their bodies to hotter temperatures. This may require time, but you can wear more clothing outside of work, stay out on hotter days or seek to stay near higher temperature objects and equipment. It is possible to build up a tolerance on the job as well, but it may take months or years to build up tolerance.

Steps Employers Should Take

The employer can take several steps to help maintain lower temperatures and to encourage hydration and breaks that benefit workers each day. These steps include the following:

  • Job rotation away from hotter areas of the building or hotter outside tasks
  • Extra breaks during certain months
  • Education about how to stay cool
  • Educating staff about signs to watch for with heat-related injury
  • Having an emergency plan for more severe situations

The more proactive the employer is, the less likely these injuries will become a serious problem for the company.

Watch for Signs of Heat-Related Illness

The employer, supervisors and even co-workers should look for signs of heat-related conditions. These include the following:

  • Weakness of the body
  • Continuous dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Dark urine during breaks
  • Nausea or vomiting that usually occurs multiple times
  • Cool, moist skin despite the heat

Those in the building can notice signs such as the employee appearing dizzy or complaining of body weakness. When the worker has a severe reaction, he or she could lose consciousness, start vomiting immediately or suffer convulsions. It is up to each person to watch for signs to prevent injury.

Contact an Attorney for Experienced Legal Help

Work-related injuries generally provide the employee the ability to file a workers’ compensation claim, but many such claims are initially denied. If your claim was denied or you need assistance with it, contact Berry, Smith & Bartell to help you through the process. Our workers’ compensation lawyers in Bakersfield can investigate the injury, review medical records and determine the viability of your claim based on all essential factors. Whether you need to file the claim for the first time or need to appeal the denial notice you have received, our firm can support you every step of the way.

Our lawyers do not get paid if we are unsuccessful with your workers’ compensation claim, so there is no risk to you in using our services. Contact us today for a free no-obligation review of your case.

For a free case evaluation with Berry, Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation call 1-800-848-6288 today!

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