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Dressing to Work in Extreme Heat

sun and cloudsThe hottest days of the year are right around the corner, and with high heat comes additional risk for those who work outside. Whether your job is under the baking sun or inside in high-heat conditions, both situations put you at risk for heat-related injuries or illnesses. Though workers who are injured or sickened at work are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits including compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, the best answer is always to avoid injury in the first place. Here are some tips for dressing to work in extreme heat.

How Heat Can Lead to Fatalities, Injuries and Illnesses

Heat can take several different forms, from high air temperatures or humidity to radiant heat and direct physical contact with hot objects. The human body is made to maintain a constant temperature and when it comes into contact with too much heat or overheats itself, it attempts to cool itself. When the air temperature is warmer than the body it makes it difficult for the body to do that, and instead, it absorbs the heat’s energy. From a localized standpoint this results in a burn and from a whole-body standpoint it can raise the heart rate and cause whole-body symptoms. Heat-related illnesses include:

  • Burns
  • Sunburn
  • Heat rash
  • Heat cramps
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Heat stroke

If your job demands that you work outside in the sun, the following type of clothing can provide you with much-needed protection:

The fact sheet offers these tips for workers who must work in the heat:

  • Guard against sunburn by covering up and wearing tightly woven clothing. Use sunscreen and wear a hat that protects the neck, ears, eyes, forehead, nose and scalp. Wear UV-absorbent shades.
  • Those who work in the sun are best served by clothing that has an aluminized outer layer that is reflective. Clothing should be breathable but still provide protection against any hazards imposed by the job’s responsibilities
  • Those who work in high heat industrial environments of over 200 degrees must be protected by specialized suits and a system that provides breathable air.
  • Those who work with hot objects need protective gear that will not deteriorate or auto-ignite.

In all cases, high heat workers are reminded to hydrate frequently and to take breaks if they believe that they are overheating. If you suffered a heat-related injury on the job and need information about workers’ compensation, contact us today to set up a convenient appointment.