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Medical treatment is crucial at the first signs of heat illness

Summertime is ideal to get construction projects done in Colorado. However, it is the most dangerous time for construction workers whose employers fail to train them on the dangers of dehydration, sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. It is also crucial for employees to recognize that heat exposure can cause death, and they need to know how to determine when a coworker needs medical treatment.

Workers need to acclimatize by gradual exposure to the sun at the start of the season and after being away from work. Frequent drinks of cool, electrolytic beverages or fresh water are essential, as are regular breaks in cool, shady areas. A high-fat lunch can exacerbate the load on the body to control the core temperature. A bigger breakfast is recommended along with a light lunch that includes fruits, salads and vegetables. Urine frequency and color can indicate dehydration as dark yellow urine produced only once or twice a day might be a sign of dehydration.

Loose-fitting, light-colored clothing made from natural fibers are best, and sunscreen, a brimmed hat and UV-protective sunglasses can provide additional protection. No one should work alone, and workers must check on coworkers for telltale signs of heat exhaustion. Red flags that indicate heat exhaustion include a coworker becoming lethargic and disoriented. When he or she drops tools, stumbles about and demonstrates slurred speech, removal to a cool area and taking in fluids is essential to prevent the worker from becoming unresponsive.

Prompt medical treatment is necessary because heat exhaustion can cause death. Colorado workers who suffer heat-related illness can seek financial assistance through the workers' compensation insurance system. An experienced attorney can provide the necessary support with the filing of benefits claims for coverage of medical expenses and lost wages.

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Denver, CO 80222

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