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Beat the heat: Uncovering the dangers of heat illness, Part 2

Summer is often a time for celebration. Not only are young people usually on vacation from school, but the warm weather is cause for people to gather together. On the other hand, the heat may be a tremendous cause of concern among those who work outdoors.

In our previous post, we looked at some of the most serious heat-related health concerns. They range in severity from a minor heat rash to a fatal heat stroke. More than anything, employees and employers should take steps to prevent these illnesses.

This blog entry will take a look at the way to remedy the workplace problems associated with summer heat

Of course, one of the first ways to address workplace heat stress is obviously prevention. This is a topic that may be particularly relevant to the construction and agricultural industries, both of which generally include outdoor work.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges employers to be vigilant and responsive to the needs of employees working in the heat. This may include simple precautions, such as providing frequent breaks, access to water and making sure there is nearby shade. Additionally, employers can provide heat-related safety training.

At the same time, employees can make sure they stay safe in the heat by wearing comfortable, yet work appropriate, clothing and staying hydrated. Unfortunately, however, many of the precautions may depend on the support of employers.

In the event that a worker suffers a heat-related illness, it may be helpful to look for additional remedies. Dealing with more serious conditions may require medical treatment and time away from work. No matter how careful employees or employers were in preventing heat stress, workers' compensation benefits may be in line.

The reality is that outdoor work may simply be unavoidable during the summer. However, the important thing is that preventative and responsive measures are in place.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Heat Stress," accessed July 1, 2014

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