The summer months bring longer daylight hours and other benefits, but it also brings increased temperatures that can impact those who work outdoors. There are many jobs that require workers to complete tasks outside, such as construction or agriculture. The individuals who work in these types of jobs may find the higher temperatures make it difficult to meet the requirements of their employment.
There are times when working in high temperatures can have a negative impact on one’s health. Some outdoor workers could also be at an elevated risk for heat-related illness or injury because of certain medical conditions and other risk factors. If you work outdoors, it is in your interests to know whether you are at risk and how you can stay safe during the hotter summer months.
What risk factors could affect you?
It can take time to acclimate to working in the heat. If someone is new to an outdoor job, he or she may need additional time to adjust to being outside in elevated temperatures. Each outdoor worker should have access to water and shade, as well as have permission to take regular breaks as needed. Outdoor workers with the following risk factors may have a higher chance of suffering from a heat-related injury or illness:
- Obesity or being overweight
- Heart disease or high blood pressure
- Lower level of physical fitness
- Taking certain types of medications
Heat-related illnesses can include heat stroke, heart problems and more. Signs of a heat-related medical complication can include a high heart rate, heavy sweating, dizziness and nausea. It is essential for outdoor workers to know how to stay as safe as reasonably possible. This may include employers providing water, mandating breaks, adjusting work schedules and requiring lightweight clothing that also provides sun protection.
The rights of sick workers
Minnesota workers who became ill as a result of their jobs have the right to seek benefits through a workers’ compensation claim. These benefits can cover lost wages, medical needs and other types of assistance an injured or ill worker may need. Those who suffered because of a heat-related illness that happened as a result of outdoor work may qualify for these benefits. After becoming ill, you may find it beneficial to seek an explanation of the legal options available to you.