Those in construction, contracting, road work and other professions frequently work outdoors, increasing their risk of heat-related medical problems. Learn about how to prevent work injuries, and what to do if you are injured on the job.
Risks of Working Outdoors in the Heat
When you work in extremely hot weather, you may experience symptoms of heat exhaustion, which can lead to a medical emergency known as heatstroke. The sun can damage your skin, and hot ladders, tools and surfaces could burn you as well. These conditions are bad enough by themselves, and the discomfort and lack of focus they cause can result in accidents.
If you take medicine for high blood pressure and other heart-related diseases, you may be more affected by hot weather. Side effects of these medications when you are exposed to sun and heat may result in a heart attack or stroke.
Minimize Risks of Illness and Injury
Federal law requires companies to give their employees adequate breaks in order to stay hydrated and remain safe. The Department of Labor considers heat an occupational risk that employers are responsible for mitigating. While you can and should take these precautions, your employer is responsible for providing a safe work environment.
- Wear protective gripped gloves, which protect you from surface temperatures and reduce the risk of slipping.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your shift.
- Protect your skin with appropriate clothing and high-SPF sunscreen.
- Take plenty of breaks in the shade.
If you have suffered from heat illness or injury on the job, we urge you to contact an attorney who will fight for your rights.