While we haven't yet reached record temperatures in the Palmetto State this year, the heat and humidity are still reaching dangerous levels for South Carolina workers; and it's only going to get hotter. In the middle of the day, the hot sun, stagnant air, and 90% humidity cause the heat index to rise into the 100s.
Construction workers, landscapers, factory workers, surveyors, and others who spend most of their working hours outdoors or in extreme heat are at increased risk for heat-related injuries this time of year. If you suffer from serious symptoms heat stress while at work, you may be entitled to workers' compensation .
Symptoms of Heat Stress
- Rash - Often a result of excessive sweating, a red, itchy rash may appear on your neck, shoulders, arms, or chest. Heat rash can range from small, red bumps to large, painful blisters.
- Cramps - Cramping can occur if you are sweating and do not replenish your body with necessary fluids and salt. If you do not drink enough water, the muscles in your legs, arms, stomach, or back may cramp and cause painful spasms.
- Fainting - Referred to by doctors as "syncope" (SEEN-co-pee), light-headedness, dizziness, or fainting may occur if you become dehydrated and/or stand up too fast. Heat syncope is a serious symptom of heat stress and you should notify your supervisor if you feel hot and dizzy at work.
- Exhaustion - Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, clammy skin, labored breathing, muscle cramps, and a pale or flushed complexion. Heat exhaustion is particularly common among workers over 65 years of age and those with high blood pressure.
- Stroke - The most serious type of heat stress, stroke occurs when your body is no longer able to control your body temperature. You can have a fever of 106 in as little as 5 minutes! Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if you are not treated immediately. Symptoms of heat stroke include:
- Hot, dry skin and heavy sweating
- Headaches, hallucinations, and confusion
- High fever and chills
- Slurred speech
If you experience any of these types of heat stress while on the job, you should notify your supervisor and seek medical attention immediately. Employers should take the necessary precautions to keep their employees safe at work. Training can be provided to help employees understand heat stress symptoms and how to prevent serious heat-related injuries while working.
If you or a loved one has suffered from heat stroke while on the job, you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. You can contact the experienced legal team at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers for a f ree case review .