While most safety warnings exist to protect workers who are outside battling the sun and humidity during a shift, workers can often face danger inside during the summer months. Heat-related disorders are more prevalent in those facing direct sunlight and a dangerously humid environment. However, it is crucial to remember that workers inside can suffer similar conditions.
It is not uncommon for workers to face dangerous conditions even while inside. Lack of air circulation, tasks requiring heavy protective clothing, inadequate breaks and lack of proper hydration can all lead to heat-related illnesses. Some of the more common types of heat-related conditions can include:
- Heat rash: This is generally a skin condition brought on by excessive sweating. The skin can appear irritated with red clusters of pimples or small blisters dotting areas of heavy perspiration.
- Heat cramps: As workers continue to sweat excessively, the body loses liquids. The workers face reduced salt levels that can lead to muscle pain, muscle spasms and muscle weakness.
- Heat exhaustion: When faced with heat, humidity and lack of air circulation, the body begins to display physical symptoms. Excessive sweating, for example, weakness, dizziness and muscle cramps all indicate that the worker is struggling with heat illnesses.
- Heat stroke: Commonly recognized as the most severe heat-related condition, heat stroke occurs when the body begins to shut down. The worker will notice that perspiration has stopped, and the body can no longer regulate its own temperature. Common symptoms can include slurred speech, quickening pulse and chills.
It is critical that supervisors provide a safe, cool environment for workers at all times. While the summer months might be the most dangerous, even cool weather can result in dangerous conditions. For example, heavy machinery gives off a great deal of heat as a byproduct of the manufacturing process. In tight quarters with no air movement, a factory can quickly become overheated. Workers must take steps to remain safe and healthy while on the job.