Heat-Related Work Accidents in Rock Hill and Elsewhere Likely through Summer

It’s getting hot out there and our risks for a heat-related work injury in Rock Hill and elsewhere are increasing by the day. A lot of workers are exposed to heat through both outdoor and indoor work environments. Workers who work around radiant heat sources, high air temps, high humidity and those who perform strenuous physical activities have high risks for these accidents, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

These workers can include those who work within areas like steam tunnels, construction, smelters, mining sites, chemical plants, food canneries, laundries, commercial kitchens, confectioneries, bakeries, electrical utilities, rubber products factories, glass products facilities, brick-firing and ceramic plants, nonferrous foundries as well as iron and steel foundries. Those who work outdoors are also at serious risks, including those who complete emergency response operations, hazardous waste site activities, landscaping, asbestos removal, gas well and oil operations, farmers and those in construction.
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Our Rock Hill workers’ compensation lawyers understand that there are thousands of workers who suffer injuries and illnesses on the job because of occupational heat exposure. Some of these injuries are even fatal. When a worker completes tasks outside or in a hot indoor environment, their body must be able to get rid of excess heat to maintain a stable internal temperature. This is usually done from blood circulations and by sweating. Unfortunately, when the air temps and the normal body temp are close to each other, the cooling of the body gets harder. This is when serious problems arise.

Employers are required to make sure that their employees are not at risk for a heat-related accident. They’re required to take all of the safety precautions to prevent an accident. That includes making sure that work areas are not too hot, that workers are provided with breaks to cool off when needed and that they’re not being overworked in hot temps.

Luckily, there are ways to help to prevent these kinds of accidents. Employers and employees should consider engineering controls for this, including…

-Fans to cool off workers.

-Increasing general ventilation.

-Air conditions break rooms and work areas.

-Eliminating steam leaks.

-Insulating hot surfaces.

-Reflective shields to redirect radiant heat.

-Local exhaust ventilation at points of high heat production or moisture (such as exhaust hoods in laundry rooms).

All workers should be trained to recognize the symptoms of a heat-related illness. Early recognition and treatment may be the last line of defense against one of these accidents.

Recognizing Heatstroke:

-Confusion.

-Weakness.

-Rapid heartbeat.

-Light headedness.

-Vomiting or nausea.

-Cool, moist skin.

-Irritability.

-Clusters of red bumps on skin.

-Headache.

-Dizziness.

-Extremely high body temperature.

-Excessive sweating or red, hot, dry skin.

-Seizures.

If any of the symptoms are recognized, it’s critical for a worker to cool off immediately. Sit them in a cool, shaded area and cool them off. Call for medical attention if symptoms don’t go away. These illnesses can turn fatal in a matter of minutes.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a work accident in Rock Hill or elsewhere in the Carolinas, contact the Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Lee Law Offices, P.A. to schedule a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-887-1965.

More Blog Entries:

Roadside Workers at High Risks for Accidents in Anderson and Elsewhere, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, June 23, 2012

Company Under Scrutiny After Work Accident in Greenville, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, June 21, 2012

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