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Are you at risk of heat exhaustion on the job?

As many of our California readers know, it’s incredibly important for an employer to provide safe working conditions for its employees. Failing to do so can lead to serious or even fatal injuries that could leave an employer liable. It could also lead to workers’ compensation benefits as well.

But there is a safety concern associated with many jobs across a number of fields that might not be considered by most employers. That concern is regarding heat exposure; and if you’re not careful, you could find yourself suffering a work-related injury before you realize you’re in an unsafe working environment.

Because of the serious medical complications that can occur after prolonged heat exposure, we wanted to point out a few key factors that could put you at risk of heat exhaustion on the job.

The first thing to consider is whether you are more or less likely to succumb to heat exhaustion. According to WedMD, workers who are age 65 and older are more susceptible to heat exhaustion than younger workers. Certain health conditions or medications can also increase a person’s risk.

Your work environment can also put you at risk of suffering an occupational injury or illness because of heat exhaustion. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, employees who work outdoors or work in hot environments, such as firefighters, construction workers, and bakery workers, are at greater risk of heat exhaustion.

Because heat exhaustion usually causes excessive sweating, dizziness or even loss of consciousness, a worker could easily suffer an injury after succumbing to this condition. That’s why, says the CDC, it’s important for employers to know the dangers of heat exposure so that they can take the necessary steps toward providing a safer working environment. They should also educate all of their workers about the dangers of heat exhaustion so as to prevent this occupational illness or accidents it might cause.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Heat Stress,” April 11, 2014, “Heat Exhaustion,” Accessed June 23, 2014