For workers who spend long hours in the hot summer sun or in facilities without air conditioning, the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke are very real.

The Texas construction accident attorneys at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris advise employers and employees in all industries to learn the signs and symptoms of heat stress, how to avoid it, and what to do when it occurs.

Heat Exhaustion

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Intense thirst
  • Rapid breathing
  • Rapid pulse
  • Headache
  • Blurry vision
  • Weakeness
  • Exhaustion
  • Dizziness and/or fainting
  • Muscle cramps

If someone is showing these symptoms, it’s important to immediately move them to a cool, shaded area to rest. The worker should not be left alone. Remove or loosen any heavy clothing, give them cool water to drink (about a cup every 15 minutes). Fan them, spray them with cool water, apply a wet cloth to their skin and call 9-1-1 if symptoms do not improve in a few minutes.

When any worker suffers heat exhaustion, he or she should be removed from the hot work environment for the rest of the day.

Heat Stroke

Symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • No sweat
  • Red, hot dry skin
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Convulsions
  • Confusion
  • Collapsing

If a worker show signs of heat stroke, this should be treated as a medical emergency and someone should immediately call 9-1-1. The worker should be moved to a cool, shaded area, laid down, fanned, sprayed with cool water and icepacks placed under armpits and in the groin area. Do not leave a person suffering from heat stroke alone. Someone should remain with the person while waiting for paramedics to arrive.

Avoiding Heat-related Illnesses

The Texas construction injury attorneys at SMSH recommend that both employers and employees observe some tips to avoid these illnesses.

  • Familiarize yourself with the symptoms and treatments above
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water or electrolyte drinks — even if you don’t feel thirsty
  • Perform most intensive activities in the cooler parts of the day
  • Take more breaks and slow down as the day gets hotter
  • Wear light-weight, loose-fitting clothing and a hat
  • Do not drink alcohol or caffeine before or during work
  • Take time in building up a tolerance to working in the heat
  • If you start feeling sick, stop working immediately, tell your supervisor and take steps to cool down

If you’ve suffered an on-the-job injury at a construction site or industrial facility, contact the Houston work accident lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers today for assistance.