With warmer weather on the horizon and the cold finally showing signs of subsiding, jobs that require their workers to provide manual labor outdoors in the heat are just beginning to reconvene.
Accompanying this resurgence of nice weather is an increased rate of on-the-job injuries involving manual labor. Jobs in the construction and agriculture industries pick up tenfold and so do the frequency with which individuals are injured on the job.
Spending long hours in the sun drains and dehydrates the body. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, spending long hours in the sun performing manual labor is a leading cause of weather-related injuries on the job. There are several kinds of injuries that can occur from overexposure to the sun, including:
- Heat stroke – This occurs when a person is no longer able to perspire and their body stops regulating body temperature. Some signs of heat stroke are nausea, fatigue, hot, flushed and dry skin, convulsions, increased body temperature, confusion, dizziness or vertigo and a slowed heartbeat. Heat strokes can be dangerous because they can occur suddenly without symptoms or warning, which could be fatal if not treated immediately.
- Heat cramps – This is an involuntary muscle spasm that typically occurs in those who are physically active in hot weather for extended periods of time. These cramps are not as dangerous or life threatening as a heat stroke, but can still be extremely painful. These typically occur in the hands, calves or feet.
- Heat exhaustion – This can occur when the body has been exposed to high temperatures for several days at time and as a result, becomes dehydrated. Your body does not have enough water, which manifests itself in the form of excessive thirst, headaches and loss of consciousness. Other forms can come to fruition through lack of salt in the body from excessive sweating, which could cause nausea and vomiting, frequent muscle cramps and disorientation.
Although some injuries and heat-related illness are more severe than others, it’s always prudent to err on the side of caution and take steps to avoid exposure. Stay hydrated, stay in the shade and take frequent breaks to ensure your body does not succumb to such heat-related injuries. Your employer should facilitate this as well to minimize on-the-job injuries.
If you or a loved one has been hurt on the job or are experiencing any of the symptoms above, then you may have a work-related injury and be entitled to compensation. Get the representation you deserve with Orlando workers’ compensation attorney Todd Miner.