Dangers of heat exhaustion for contractors
Summertime is hot and it is even hotter for your contractor clients on a jobsite. Heat exhaustion is a serious health hazard for contractors and can lead to serious illness, injury and even death in extreme cases. According to OSHA statistics, 94 fatalities were reported in 2016 due to heat-related illnesses. These deaths are tragic and the most tragic thing of all—these deaths could have been prevented.
What are the signs of heat exhaustion?
The body becomes dehydrated and starts displaying signs of distress including profuse sweating, labored breathing, dizziness, vomiting, fainting, dark-colored urine, extreme fatigue, muscle cramps, diarrhea and confusion. Sadly, if it is not caught early and treated with the proper medical attention, heat exhaustion can lead to cardiac arrest and sometimes death.
Heat exhaustion can lead to a heat stroke as well. A stroke occurs when the body’s temperature regulation system fails. After experiencing untreated heat exhaustion, the body eventually stops sweating and the victim may have a seizure. The body temperature of a heat stroke victim may exceed 106 F. Heat stroke is a life threatening condition and requires immediate emergency medical attention.
Treatment of heat exhaustion
Anyone working on the jobsite who exhibits signs of heat exhaustion should immediately be moved to a cooler area. Allow the worker to stop work and rehydrate with water or a sports drink. Elevate the legs and feet slightly and sponge or spray the heat exhaustion victim with cool water. Watch the person closely and if his condition does not improve, seek medical attention.
OSHA offers these helpful tips for preventing occupational heat exhaustion.
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