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Outside Workers and Heat-Related Illnesses

With temperatures soaring this summer, outside workers are at a higher risk of suffering heat-related illnesses. Identifying heat-related illnesses and having a safety plan of action is key to saving lives when working in hot, summer, outdoor environments.

Symptoms of Heat-Related Illnesses and How to Respond to Them

Different types of heat-related illnesses have different symptoms. Recognizing these symptoms and responding in the correct manner can save lives in the event of overheating.

Heat Stroke




  Extremely high body temperature

  Hot or dry skin

  Fast, strong pulse

  Rapid heart rate

  Slurred speech





 How to Respond:

In the event of a heat stroke, call 911 or drive the victim to a hospital immediately. A heat stroke is the most severe type of heat-related illness. Help the victim move to a cooler area, preferably a place with air conditioning and shade. Try and cool the victim by placing cool cloths on them or setting them in a cold bath. Do not give them any fluids, including water. It should be noted that using a fan in high temperatures can make the victim even warmer. 

Heat Exhaustion


  Heavy sweating

  Weakness or tiredness



  Nausea or vomiting

  Higher than normal body temperature

  Fast heart rate

  Fast, weak pulse

  Cold, pale and clammy skin


How to Respond:

Even though less severe than a heat stroke, heat exhaustion can be detrimental if not treated properly. When symptoms begin to occur, move the victim to a cooler environment out of the heat. Loosen the victim’s clothing and apply cool cloths or place the victim in a cool bath. Offer sips of water to the victim to help them cool down. If the victim begins to vomit, symptoms worsen, seek medical assistance immediately. If not treated properly, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke and even death.

Heat Cramps


  Muscle spasms or pain usually in the legs

  Heavy sweating

How to Respond:

The victim should stop any physical activity and relocate to a cool location. Offer the victim some water or a sports drink if they do not have nausea. Let the cramp relieve itself completely before going back to work. If the cramp lasts longer than one hour, seek medical assistance immediately.

Heat Rash


  Red clusters of small blisters on the skin

  Usually found on neck, chest and skin folds

How to Respond:

Take the victim to a cool, dry area. Try and keep the rash dry and apply powder to help soothe the rash.



  Painful, red and warm skin


How to Respond:

Keep the victim out of the sun until the sunburn fully heals. Place cool cloths on the sunburn or prepare a cold bath. Apply moisturizing lotion such as aloe vera on the infected area. Do not touch or pop the blisters as it may cause further irritation. 

How to Prevent Heat-Related Illnesses

Heat-related illnesses are preventable if the proper measurements are taken. Here are some safety tips to protect outside workers in the heat.

  Acclimate new outside workers on the job site. Help them build a heat tolerance through gradual steps of acclimatization. This process helps workers’ bodies adjust to the warmer environment.

  Establish a culture of safety. Supervisors and workers alike should be educated about heat hazards, their potential dangers and what to do in an emergency. Consider posting safety guidelines around the worksite and offering rest breaks throughout the day to prevent injuries.

  If possible, accommodate outside workers with cooling controls like air conditioning or fans. Try to provide protective equipment such as reflective clothing or cool neck wraps. 

If you have been affected by a heat-related illness, reach out to personal injury attorneys at Ramsey Law Group. Contact us today for a free consultation about your potential case. Together we can get you the justice you deserve.