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Construction worker with heat exhaustion

The summer months can be grueling for those working outdoors, especially for landscapers, masons, and construction workers. Intense heat can result in varying illnesses and injuries, which can affect workers regardless of age or physical condition. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps to protecting your employees from heat-related injuries and additional measures you can take to safeguard your business. 

What Types of Heat-Related Injuries Can Occur? 

Before discussing avoidance, take a look at the type of heat-related illnesses that can arise from excessive exposure. Working outdoors for long periods during extreme heat can result in: 

  • Heatstroke: A heatstroke – also spelled “heat stroke” – occurs when one’s body temperature rises beyond 104 degrees within a matter of minutes. This can be characterized by rapid heart rate, nausea, and even death.
  • Heat Exhaustion: When exposed to heat for an extended period, one’s body loses water and salt via sweat. If not allowed to rest, drink water, and replenish nutrients, a worker can experience a wide range of life-threatening symptoms.
  • Heat Cramps: Some people may experience prolonged muscle spasms and extreme pain caused by too much heat.
  • Heat Rash: This is characterized by irritated skin caused by excessive sweating. 

Fortunately, many of these ailments can be avoided by being mindful of symptoms and providing a safe and healthy work environment. 

What Steps Can You Take to Prevent Heat-Related Injuries? 

Actions can be taken on behalf of the employer and the employee to minimize the risk of heat-related injuries 

Employer Safety Measures 

Employers can perform steps to limit liability exposure and protect their employees. Some tips to mitigate these harmful situations are: 

  • Provide continuous access to water. 
  • Ensure workers are taking their breaks.
  • Provide a shaded area for employees to rest.
  • Train employees on the warning signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses. 

Worker experiencing heatstrokeEmployers should also study OSHA’s Water. Rest. Shade Campaign to understand the laws and regulations regarding heat exposure on job sites. 

Employee Safety Measures 

Employers shouldn’t have to carry full responsibility for worker safety. Employees also need to take steps to safeguard their health along with their coworkers’ health. This includes: 

  • Drinking plenty of fluids and eating nutritious foods
  • Applying sunscreen frequently
  • If possible, wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing
  • Wearing protective eyewear to defend against harmful ultraviolet rays
  • Not skipping breaks
  • Learning about the symptoms of heat-related conditions

Employees should also inform themselves of their labor rights and the employer’s legal responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace. 

Insurance’s Role Regarding Heat-Related Injuries 

While the safety of your employees is of utmost concern, you want to also ensure your business is protected from financial losses resulting from a heat-related incident. Fortunately, an employee can file a workers’ compensation claim if their injuries are proven to be caused by outdoor exposure to heat, which will cover medical bills, missed time at work, and loss of wages. However, if the injury is a result of a pre-existing condition, the employee can only file a claim if their condition was unnecessarily aggravated due to employer negligence. 

Protecting your employees from heat-related injuries takes a fair amount of oversight, but it’s crucial to ensure no harm befalls your employees. Heatstroke and related illnesses are particularly dangerous as many places throughout the US continue to witness record-high temperatures each year. Allow the professionals at World Insurance to help protect your business from financial harm resulting from such injuries. Contact World today to see how you can better safeguard your company. 



This article is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice.


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