Workers in California can face a variety of conditions based on their environment. Some are required to work either in indoor environments that are not climate controlled or outdoors in extreme heat. The following are some hazards workers can face in these conditions along with some recommendations on how to prevent heat-related illness.
Working in the heat
Certain industries require workers to work in hot conditions. In some cases, this can be extreme heat, which can increase the risk of heat-related illnesses. Common outdoor work that results in workers being exposed to the heat include landscaping, agriculture, construction, delivery jobs and gas and oil well operation.
Indoor workers can also face extreme heat. Common industries where people work indoors in such conditions include firefighting, bakeries, kitchen work, laundry work, warehousing and manufacturing jobs involving local heat sources.
All these jobs expose workers to extreme heat, posing risks to their health. One of the biggest problems they can face is an inability to regulate their body temperature, which can cause workers to experience various adverse symptoms. In such hot conditions, a worker can experience cramps, confusion, rashes, extreme thirst, heat exhaustion or even shock and heat stroke.
Preventing heat-related illness
To prevent workers from suffering heat-related illnesses and having to file for workers’ compensation, employers should aim for better conditions. Workers should be encouraged to drink plenty of water and sports drinks to rehydrate and boost their electrolytes. Taking frequent breaks to rest and get cooler is a good way to regulate body temperature; shade stations are great options to help employees stay cool.
Workers can also benefit from shorter shifts when working in extreme heat indoors or outdoors. It’s also crucial to recognize the signs of heat-related illness so that an affected employee can receive medical assistance as soon as they need it.
For some industries, it’s impossible to avoid working in extreme heat. With precautions in place to protect workers, everyone can stay safe and productive.