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Stay aware of heat-related risks while on the job

In the summer months, many people enjoy being outside and having a chance to catch the sun. Of course, as someone who works outdoors, you understand how brutal the sun can be over a long day. While you certainly look forward to taking it easy at the end of the day, you also need to understand the importance of avoiding heat-related injuries while on the job.

Some people may not consider the temperature a risk factor for injuries, but heat -- and cold in winter -- can easily cause problems for you and other workers. You could potentially even suffer serious heat-related illnesses that leave you needing immediate medical attention.

Watch for warning signs

Because heat-related illnesses can set in quickly and cause immediate harm to you or other workers, you may want to remain aware of the warning signs, which include:

  • Mood swings
  • Red skin
  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Dehydration
  • Disorientation
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Swollen lips
  • Dark urine

Hopefully, your employer will train you and your coworkers on these signs and how to recognize them. Additionally, using a buddy system so someone watches out for you and you watch out for a coworker may be wise as well.

Protect yourself

If you know your work duties will have you outside in the sun or high temperatures, make sure to pay attention to your clothing. Wearing loose clothes of a breathable fabric may help you stay cooler. Additionally, wearing light colors may also prevent the absorption of more heat.

Another way to help yourself avoid heat-related illnesses is to stay hydrated. Workers can easily become dehydrated while carrying out their work duties in the heat, and serious symptoms could set in quickly. You should take the time to drink enough water throughout the day as well as take breaks out of the sun and in cooler areas. It may be your employer's responsibility to provide these areas and water for you.

Suffering a heat-related illness or injury

In the event that you do suffer a heat-related illness or injury, you may need medical attention, which could result in high medical bills, and you may also need time away from work to recover. Because these outcomes can lead to financial struggles, you may want to gain information on workers' compensation. These benefits could help you attend to financial issues resulting from your work-related illness or injury.

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