The Dangers of Excessive Heat in the Workplace
In the summer months, when the temperatures soar for a short while, there can be some very real consequences attributed to by excessive heat in the workplace. Over exposure to extended periods of hot weather can increase the risk of a sizeable amount of heat related illness. Workers who are employed in outdoor work are at risk of the elements for prolonged hours, as are those who work in hot environments, such as bakeries, miners and fire-fighters. In general, the younger and fitter you are, the less at risk you are. This however, does not always apply and it is wrong to think that you can easily dodge the side effects of heat in your workplace.
One such illness is heat stress. This indicates the first signs of danger and can lead on to other more damaging effects, such as heat stroke. The initial signs of stress from heat can cause irritability, sweaty palms and forehead, headaches and dizzy spells. Without proper intervention, this can then lead on to heat rashes or cramps, which usually indicate a growing cause for concern. Once the worker experiences some of these symptoms, it is crucial they let somebody know and attempt to cool down. The worst case scenario for a worker in an overheated climate is to suffer from heat stroke, which is a more aggressive form of heat exhaustion. This can sometimes lead to black outs, and people die every year through not heeding the warning signs of onset heat stroke.
Preventing the effects of heat in the workplace is an extremely important job of any employer. There are many ways of doing this, such as installing air conditioning, opening windows, introducing fans, letting workers take short breaks, allowing drinks to be consumed and letting the team know about the dangers. Alongside this, there should always be someone within the vicinity who has first aid training and who can assist in any emergencies, should they occur.
Excessive heat can result in the raising of your body temperature to dangerous levels and this can happen very quickly, if nothing is done to stop it. If you or someone else begins to feel chills, suffer from slurred speech or experience dizziness in hot weather, then try to act immediately and seek help. Wearing suitable, light clothes can offer some respite from the heat, but most important of all is to become aware of your own body’s signals when in danger.