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Heat-Related Work Injuries in Boston Rising Concern with Rising Temps

As the warmer months roll in, heat-related work injuries in Boston and elsewhere should be one of the top priorities for employers and employees.

It sure is for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). A press teleconference on May 7th was held to discuss this year’s Heat Illness Prevention Campaign. This campaign is used as a nationwide enforcement effort to raise awareness about the dangers that accompany outdoor work and other high-heat jobs.
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Every year, there are thousands of outdoor employees who suffer heat-related injuries on the job. Dozens more are killed under these same circumstances.

Our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys understand that exposure to heat can result in some serious and permanent injuries. Outdoor workers are highly susceptible to these kinds of injuries, including heatstroke, when the proper safety precautions are not taken.

Heat stress-related injuries include heat rashes, heat cramps, heat exhaustion as well as heatstroke. Employees that are likely to encounter hot work conditions include miners, construction workers, farmers, bakery workers, firefighters, factory workers, boiler room workers and more. Employees at greater risks of heat stress include those who are 65-years-old and older, those who are overweight, those who have a heart disease or high blood pressure and those who take medications. To help prevent these kinds of accidents, employers should provide training to employees so that they understand exactly what heat stress is, how it affects their safety and health and how it can be prevented.

From 1979 to 2003, there were more than 8,000 people across the U.S. who died from excessive heat exposure. That’s more fatalities than earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, lightning and hurricanes combined.

Symptoms of heatstroke include:

-Slurred speech
-High body temps
-Chills
-Dry, hot skin or excessive sweating
-Hallucinations
-Severe headache
What to do if you or someone you work with is dealing with a heat-related injury:

-Remember that you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency. You’re urged to call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the victim.

-Get the person into a shady area.

-Cool them down quickly. Place them in a shower, pour cool water on their body, spray them with a nearby garden hose, sponge them with cool water. If there’s low humidity, wrap the victim in a cool, wet sheet and fan them a lot.

-Keep an eye on their body temp. Continue cooling them down until their body temp drops to 102 degrees or cooler.

-Do not give them fluids to drink.

-Get medical assistance as soon as possible.

If you or someone you love have been involved in a work-related accident in Boston, Quincy, Fall River or in any of the surrounding areas, contact the injury attorneys at Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman to schedule a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call 888-367-2900.

More Blog Entries:

New England Work Accident Sparks Investigation: Serious Violations Discovered, Massachusetts Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, May 2, 2012

Out of State Medical Treatment in Boston Workers’ Compensation Discussed by the Court in Schatz v. Interfaith, Massachusetts Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, April 22, 2012