Summer Hazards to Outdoor Workers
While many have fun in the sun during the summer months, others can’t escape the heat because of their jobs. Summer hazards can be especially problematic to outdoor workers. The type of hazards depend on their type of work, geographic region, and duration of time they are outside. Accident Recovery Team knows it’s vital to understand the physical and biological hazards that come with an increase in temperature.
The Sun is Summer Hazard Number One
Workers who are exposed to extreme heat or work in hot environments may be at risk of heat stress. This type of exposure can result in occupational illnesses and injuries. Heat stress can result in:
- Heat stroke occurs when the body can no longer control its temperature. When heat stroke occurs, the body temperature can rise to 106°F or higher within ten to fifteen minutes.
- Heat Exhaustion is the body’s response to an excessive loss of water and salt, usually through excessive sweating.
- Heat Cramps usually affect workers who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. This sweating depletes the body’s salt and moisture levels, resulting in painful cramps.
- Heat rash is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather. They can appear as red clusters of pimples or small blisters.
Sunlight exposure is also a summer hazard and is highest between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Working outdoors during these times increases the chances of getting sunburned which increases a person’s risk for skin cancer. Scientists believe that radiation from the sun can cause damage to connective tissue and increase a person’s risk for developing skin cancer.
Summer Hazards that Bite
Anyone who works outdoors must also pay close attention to their surroundings. Venomous snakes, spiders, scorpions, and stinging insects are especially dangerous to workers who have allergies to the animal. Venomous spiders found in the United States include the black widow and the brown recluse. Regional venomous snakes include rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths/water moccasins, and coral snakes. And stinging or biting insects include bees, wasps, hornets, and fire ants. It is important for employers to educate their workers about their risk of exposure to venomous insects and animals. They should also know how they can prevent and protect themselves from bites, and what to do if they’re bitten.
Poisonous plants are a very common summer hazard to outdoor workers. The most common problems with poisonous plants arise from an allergic reaction when making contact with the sap oil. Several plants native to the United States can cause an allergic skin reaction. These include poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. These plants can even be dangerous if burned and their toxins are inhaled. They can cause rashes and lung irritation.
Accident Recovery Team is Here for You
Accident Recovery Team has workers compensation case attorneys who care. Contact any of the attorneys at the Accident Recovery Team by calling us toll free at 866-263-0505. We’re happy to answer questions and the consultation is free and you never pay a fee until we win.
Information provided by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) website.