Summer is finally here, and most people will spend their days outdoors as much as possible. Whether it be down the shore or having cookouts in the backyard with friends, summer is met with fun and freedom outdoors, but summer does not come without its dangers. In some occupations, work is required to be outdoors, which exposes workers to various hazards.
Statistically, work injuries increase during the summer months for various reasons. Longer days mean more hours outside as workers contend with intense heat, sun exposure, and heavy rainstorms. The following are the most common injuries workers suffer during the summer:
The human body consists of mostly water to regulate body temperatures and keep vital systems functioning correctly. When the body loses too much water or fluid, more so than the body is taking in, dehydration occurs. There are many causes of dehydration, such as diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. One of the more important causes of the condition, particularly in the summer, is not drinking enough fluids.
Some people are at a higher risk of dehydration than others, such as the elderly or those with diabetes. Even workers who use machines or tools that generate heat can experience dehydration. Workers who spend hours outside must be mindful of themselves and others, and watch for symptoms such as:
- Having a dry mouth
- Extreme thirst
- Rapid breathing or heartrate
- Dark-colored or brown urine
- Urinating too often
- Feeling fatigued
- Sweating less than usual
Working outside raises the risk even more. Employers must provide adequate water or fluids and breaks to their workers who are exposed to the elements. Dehydration is dangerous and can be fatal; the average human body should drink about half of their weight in ounces a day, so employers must allow their employees breaks to find shade, replenish fluids, and rest, if necessary. If a coworker is dehydrated, provide cold water, find shade, and seek medical attention immediately.
Heat stroke is a dangerous condition that occurs when one is exposed to intense heat for long period, causing one’s body temperature to elevate rapidly. Like dehydration, heat stroke can cause major bodily systems to fail, leading to injuries, disabilities, or death. If a coworker is suffering from heat stroke, cool down the body as quickly as possible by removing clothing if necessary, providing cold water, and seeking medical attention immediately. The following are symptoms of heatstroke:
- Flushed skin color
- Rapid breathing or heartrate
- Dry or hot skin
- Elevated body temperature
- Confusion, irritability, or agitation
Exposure to the sun for an extended period of time can cause extremely serious conditions, such as severe burns or cancer. The sun gives off ultraviolet light, and when exposed, the human skin protects itself with melanin. Inadequate amounts of melanin cause sunburn, which can be extremely painful. Symptoms of sunburn include:
- Red or pink-colored skin
- Touching of skin is painful, itchy, or feels hot to the touch
- Flu-like symptoms
If a worker suffers from sunburn, it is best to have a doctor assess the skin. Long-term sun exposure and sunburns can leave scarring or other marks on the skin and could eventually cause skin cancer. Often, workers do not know they have sunburn until it is too late. Workers can treat sunburn with ointments, such as aloe, lotion, or medications, but the best treatment is prevention. When spending the day under the sun, whether at work or leisurely, it is always a good idea to cover exposed skin with sunscreen with an SPF at least 50. Apply the sunscreen at least a half hour before going outside, reapply every two hours, and use sunscreen even if the day is overcast.
The summer months can bring congested roadways at all hours of the day. Unsurprisingly, this leads to more traffic accidents and injuries than any other time of year. In fact, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is also known as the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer for drivers. Workers who are required to drive for work must be extra vigilant on the road.
Summer also sees more roadway construction; newer roadways are being developed and potholes and other hazards from the winter are being repaired. Car accidents occur frequently because of construction equipment or debris on the roads, and drivers failing to obey construction zone laws make the road a more dangerous place.
Slip and Falls
According to studies, slip and fall injuries occur more frequently during the summer months. Workers must be properly equipped with the correct footwear, especially in wet storm conditions. Outside work areas are also exposed to the elements, so fallen tree branches or work debris can litter walkways causing injury.
Workers that suffer a work injury are legally entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits, whether the injury occurred inside an office or while being exposed to the summer elements. Every state has different laws dealing with the specifics of Workers’ Compensation claims, and a knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation lawyer can address any questions and concerns.
Cherry Hill Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Kotlar, Hernandez & Cohen, LLC Protect the Rights of Injured Workers
Employers should provide a safe work environment for all workers performing tasks in the summer heat. If you were injured at work, contact the Cherry Hill Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Kotlar, Hernandez & Cohen, LLC right away. We will review your case and fight for the compensation you rightfully deserve. Call us today at 856-751-7676 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Mount Laurel, Cherry Hill, Trenton, and Vineland, New Jersey, as well as Trevose, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.