August 6th, 2019 Guest Post – Meuser Law Office, P.A. “Minnesota Hot Weather Work Safety – How to Handle Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke”

During the dog days of summer here in Minnesota, outdoor workers need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat stress and how to treat it. Heat stress occurs when a worker’s body cannot cool down quickly enough.
Symptoms should not be ignored and time is of the essence when your body begins showing signs of heat stress. Heat exhaustion can be dangerous and heat stroke can be fatal.

The symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke include:

Heat Exhaustion

  • Heavy sweating
  • Heavy thirst
  • Panting/rapid breathing
  • Rapid pulse
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Exhaustion, weakness
  • Clumsiness
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Cramping

Heat Stroke

  • No sweating
  • Red or flushed, hot dry skin
  • Any severe symptom of heat exhaustion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Bizarre behavior
  • Convulsions
  • Confusion
  • Collapse

If someone is suffering heat exhaustion or heat stroke, the following steps should be taken:

Heat Exhaustion

  • Move the victim to a cool, shaded area to rest; DO NOT leave him/her alone
  • Loosen and remove heavy clothing
  • Give cool water to drink,
    about a cup every 15 minutes
  • Fan the person, spray with cool water, or apply a wet cloth to skin
  • Call 911 if he/she does not feel better in a few minutes
  • Remove from hot environment work that day

Heat Stroke (Medical Emergency)

  • Get medical help immediately, call 911
  • Move the victim to a cool, shaded area;
    do not leave him/her alone
  • Lay the person down
  • Loosen and remove heavy clothing
  • Fan the person, spray with cool water, or wipe with a wet cloth or cover with a wet sheet
  • Place ice packs under the armpits and in
    the groin area

You can take steps to avoid heat-related injuries on the job such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke, including:

    • Learning the signs and symptoms of heat stress.
    • Drinking plenty of water or electrolyte drinks.
    • Avoiding heavy work during the hottest parts of the day.
    • Slowing down the pace of work and taking more breaks.
    • Wearing light-weight, loose-fitting, light-colored, breathable clothing and a hat.
    • Taking regular breaks in the shade or in a cool area.
    • Avoiding alcoholic beverages or drinks with caffeine before or during work.
    • Keeping an eye on co-workers for symptoms of heat stress.
    • If you start to feel ill, stop what you’re doing immediately, and take steps to cool down. Tell your supervisor or another employee you’re working with so that person can observe your symptoms and step in to assist if needed.

If you’ve sustained a heat-related injury on the job in Minnesota that required medical attention, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. To learn more about your rights, call Meuser Law Office, P.A. at 877-746-5680. Meuser Law’s team of experienced Minnesota PERA and workers’ compensation attorneys provide assistance through every stage of the claim process. We will help you receive the benefits you deserve.