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How workers can stay safe in the summer heat

The summers in California can be brutal for outdoor workers, so it’s important to know how to protect yourself during this time. It all starts with knowing the different types of heat-related illness and their symptoms. There are four conditions to be aware of:

• Heat exhaustion
• Heat stroke
• Heat rash
• Heat cramps

Watching out for the symptoms

Heat stroke is the most serious of the four as it’s the result of the body not regulating its temperature. If not treated right away, it can lead to permanent disability or even death. Its symptoms include reddish skin combined with little to no sweating, chills, confusion and slurred speech. Heat exhaustion, on the other hand, results in excessive sweating. Confusion, dizziness and fatigue can also be linked to it.

Excessive sweating causes heat cramps, which are characterized by muscle spasms and pain in the abdomen and limbs. When sweating irritates the skin, workers may develop a rash, which will resemble a red cluster of pimples. They usually appear on the neck and upper chest.

Water and plenty of breaks can help

To avoid these illnesses, you should drink water, avoid caffeine and alcohol, pace yourself and not be shy about taking breaks. Your clothing should be lightweight and fit loosely. You should put sunscreen on and wear a damp rag around your neck, too.

Filing a workers’ compensation claim

Perhaps you suffered from a heat-related illness despite precautions. Perhaps your employer neglected to provide enough breaks or water. Whatever the case may be, you can be reimbursed for a percentage of lost wages and for all your medical expenses under workers’ compensation law. You will be filing a claim, and since this can be a complicated process, you may want a lawyer to assist you. The lawyer may help you mount an appeal if necessary.