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Reducing heat stress when working in extreme heat

For Florida workers who work outside or in warehouses, the summer weather brings with it the risks of heat stress. Working in extreme heat can have an impact on workers' brain functions and body functions, potentially putting them at risk for serious heat-related illnesses and injuries.

Working in extreme heat can be very dangerous. In addition to putting employees at increased risk for heat-related illnesses, exposure to extreme heat can increase the risk of injuries. Further, the risk of injuries that may be caused by contact with hot surfaces, such as burns, are also increased.

The signs and symptoms of heat stress can be difficult to recognize. Even employees who are experiencing the symptoms may not be aware that they are at risk; as such, employers should ensure that workers are aware of the potential symptoms. Further, there are some preventative actions that employers and employees can take to prevent heat stress. For example, employees should have their workload gradually increased so that their bodies can get used to the heat. They should eat regular snacks and meals and frequently drink small amounts of water before they become thirsty. Finally, employers should schedule rest periods in the shade or in air-conditioned rooms.

Employers are responsible for making their workplaces or work sites as safe as possible for employees. Even though certain workplaces or work sites often require working in extreme heat, employers should still protect their employees to the best of their abilities by ensuring that are properly hydrated and get adequate breaks to keep heat stress at bay. If an unsafe work environment results in injuries or illnesses, an employee may be entitled to workers' compensation. An employment attorney may assist with filing the initial claim and determining if the offered benefits cover the cost of medical care and a portion of the employee's income during recovery.

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