Aldrich Law Firm, Ltd.
Aldrich Law Firm, Ltd.

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The dangers of heat stroke on the job

It can be unbearably hot in Las Vegas during the summer and early fall months. This usually poses no problem for those who live and work in air conditioned buildings, but the summer heat can be uncomfortable – and even dangerous – for those who work in the sun or in industries that are known for generating heat. For this reason, Nevada employers should take measures to protect their staff from heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

In fact, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, it is an employer’s responsibility to provide a safe workplace, which includes access to shade, water and breaks when it is hot. In 2014, 2,630 employees across the country became ill and 18 lost their lives due to heat-related factors. Construction workers, farm laborers, those who work in iron and steel foundries and bakery workers are among those most at risk of a heat-related jobsite illness or injury.

The Mayo Clinic stresses that heat stroke is a serious condition requiring immediate emergency care. The symptoms may include confusion, elevated temperate, dry and flushed skin, nausea, rapid heartbeat and shallow breathing. When a person is suspected to be suffering from heat stroke, he or she should be taken indoors or into a shady spot and cooled down however possible. This may include soaking the person with wet cloths or applying ice packs. In the meantime, 911 should be called.

How can an employer prevent a heat-related illness? In addition to providing water, rest and a place to get out of the heat, it can help to train staff on the signs and symptoms of heat stroke. Workers who are not acclimated to working in the heat should gradually ease into the duties of the job. Supervisors should watch staff for any signs of illness, and encourage workers to do the same for their fellows.

Knowledge and preventive efforts may help workers avoid a tragedy at the workplace when it comes to working in the heat. It may also spare a company from legal action.

John P. Aldrich
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