Common Summertime Work-Related Injuries
Although the summer months are often seen as a time for relaxation, they can also be a time of increased risk for work-related injuries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses treated in hospital emergency rooms rises sharply in June, July, and August. In addition to sprains, strains, and tears, these are some common summertime work injuries and illnesses:
Heat cramps are muscle pains or spasms due to overexertion in hot weather. The symptoms are often experienced by athletes or manual laborers working outdoors in hot conditions. Heat cramps usually affect the most active muscles, such as the Legs and Arms. The pain is caused by dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Treatment for heat cramps includes rest, hydration, and gentle stretching of the affected muscles. In most cases, drinking plenty of fluids can easily prevent heat cramps. However, if they do occur, it is essential to seek treatment immediately to avoid more serious health problems.
Heat exhaustion is a condition that can occur when you are exposed to high temperatures, primarily if you are not used to the heat. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, headache, dizziness, and nausea. If you develop any of these symptoms, it is important to get out of the heat and rest in a cool, shady area. You should also drink plenty of fluids, preferably water or a sports drink. If your symptoms are severe or you do not feel better after resting and drinking fluids, you should seek medical help immediately. Heat exhaustion is serious and can lead to heat stroke, which can be life-threatening. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion so that you can take steps to prevent it.
Heat stroke is a condition that occurs when the body’s temperature rises to 108 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The body cannot cool itself and organs begin to shut down. Symptoms of heat stroke include headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and unconsciousness. If left untreated, heat stroke can be fatal. Staying hydrated and wearing light, loose-fitting clothing is crucial to prevent heat stroke. Taking frequent breaks in a cool, shady area during hot weather is also essential. If you start to feel dizzy or nauseous, seek medical attention immediately. With prompt treatment, heat stroke can be reversible. However, if left untreated, it can result in organ damage or death.
One of the most common work-related injuries is sunburn. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to one-third of adults in the United States reported sunburned in the past year. And while a sunburn may seem like a minor injury, it can have serious health consequences. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation is a known risk factor for skin cancer, and even a single sunburn can increase your risk of melanoma. So if you work outdoors, take steps to protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, wear protective clothing, and take breaks in shady areas to avoid overheating. Taking these simple precautions can help prevent a work-related injury that could have lasting effects on your health.
Insect stings can seriously hazard workers in many industries, including agriculture, forestry, and construction. While most stings only cause minor discomfort, some insects can deliver a venomous sting resulting in severe pain, swelling, and even anaphylactic shock. In the United States, an estimated 5-6 million work-related insect stings each year, resulting in approximately 1,000 hospitalizations and 12 deaths. To minimize the risk of work-related injuries from insect stings, employers should provide workers with personal protective equipment such as long sleeves and pants and require them to use insect repellent when working in areas where insects are present. Workers should also be instructed to properly remove a sting victim from the site and provide first aid. By taking these precautions, employers can help ensure their workers stay safe from the dangers of insect stings.
To help prevent work-related injuries this summer, employees should be provided with proper training, safety equipment, and breaks to stay hydrated and cool. Despite these efforts, life is predictable, unpredictable and things happen. No matter the injury type, MTI America is proud to offer solutions for your summertime, ancillary needs.
Here’s to a safe and healthy summer season!