When winter cold is chilling out the rest of the country, there’s nothing like the warm Florida weather to chase away the chill. But when summer arrives – and with it, the intense subtropical heat and humidity, the toll it takes on your body can be dangerous – especially if you’re working outside. Workers comp provides a lot of protection for workers injured by the summer heat. But ideally, you want to avoid those problems in the first place. That means making sure you and your workers know the warning signs of heat stroke, how to take action, and how to prevent overheating.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency that develops when the body becomes so overheated, it loses its ability to effectively cool itself down. When heat stroke occurs, the body can heat up to more than 103° F and higher in just a few minutes, and without immediate medical care, it can lead to death or permanent disability.
Signs and symptoms of heat stroke include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- High temperature exceeding 103° F
- Hot, dry, red skin with no sweating or very little sweating
- Loss of consciousness
If any of these symptoms do occur, move the person out of the sun and heat, cool their skin with water from a hose, tub or cool compresses, call 9-1-1 and seek emergency help immediately.
Prevent Heat Stroke
Staying well hydrated when working (or even playing) outdoors is essential for summertime workplace safety. Ideally, workers should drink 2-4 cups of water every hour to make sure the body has the fluid it needs to function normally, and that includes the ability to cool itself down. Keep a water cooler on hand with plenty of disposable cups, and make sure to restock the cooler with cold water and ice throughout the day.
When possible, schedule work for late afternoon and evening hours or during the early morning before the sun gets too high in the sky. Provide artificial shade if no natural shade is available, and be sure workers take plenty of breaks throughout the day to prevent overheating and to rehydrate.
Make sure uniforms use lightweight materials and light colors that don’t absorb the heat as much. Lightweight ventilated hats are another important piece of safety equipment, protecting the head, face and neck from heat and sunburn, and the brims can prevent glare that can cause accidents.
Finally, call Atlantic-Pacific to make sure your workers comp insurance policy is up to date. Our agents can perform a quick review of your policy so you have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your workers have the coverage they need if a workplace accident, injury or illness occurs. To have your own policy review, call our office at 800-538-0487 today.
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