What should construction workers know about heat stroke?

Construction does not slow down during the heat of the day. In fact, summer is the busiest time of the year for construction workers in Missouri and elsewhere, since rain and snow are more likely to impede road and building construction. It is imperative that you understand the risks of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, as well as how to avoid getting sick while working under the hot sun.

With your job, you may worry more about falls, electrocution and other common construction injuries. However, heat-related illnesses are a significant risk during the summer months for those who work outside, especially if they perform heavy labor. Heat exhaustion can develop rapidly and can threaten your health. If you do not take action quickly, it can turn into the life-threatening condition known as heat stroke. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the symptoms of heat stroke include the following:

  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Seizures
  • Confusion and irritability
  • Hot, dry skin (no sweating)

If you develop a headache or begin to feel dizzy, confused or nauseated while working under the sun, these are possible symptoms of heat exhaustion. It is important to get to a cool place immediately and drink water. To avoid heat stroke, you and your co-workers should stay hydrated and have adequate shelter nearby to take breaks from the sun. Heat stroke is a medical emergency requiring immediate attention. If you suspect heat stroke, someone should call 911 right away.

Workers’ compensation law covers on-the-job illnesses like heat stroke, in addition to injuries. This information is not meant to replace the advice of a lawyer.


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