Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corporation Gives Advice For Preventing Workplace Heat-Related Injuries


Baton Rouge, LA (CompNewsNetwork) - Louisiana Workers' Compensation Corporation (LWCC) is reminding employers and employees-- as summer temperatures continue to soar into the mid- to upper 90s -- to take every precaution to avoid heat-related illnesses such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and the more life-threatening heatstroke.

It is during these extreme summer temperatures that employees, such as construction workers, roofers, delivery persons, farmers, landscapers and even those working indoors, are most at risk for heat-related illnesses. Construction workers are particularly susceptible to getting dizzy from the heat, since they are sometimes working 12 to 15 feet in the air or laying hot asphalt while wearing heavy protective gear.

Employers are strongly encouraged to learn the deadly effects of heat and humidity on workers and what steps need to be taken to protect them, such as drinking ample fluids, taking frequent breaks in a cool or shaded area, cutting down on caffeine and encouraging the wearing of light-colored clothes that reflect the heat instead of absorbing it. Employers should also be aware that heat-related injuries can occur in deceptively mild weather, due to high humidity, making working under these conditions particularly dangerous.

Additionally, preventive measures should be enforced by management and adhered to by all workers, not only those working outdoors. Heat-related injuries can also occur year-round for those working indoors in laundries, bakeries, restaurant kitchens and warehouses, despite efforts to keep these areas cool with air conditioners, fans and open windows.

According to Michael Page, LWCC director of safety and loss prevention, “Making a few simple workplace adjustments, as well as providing proper training, can go a long way in preventing heat-related injuries, saving lost workdays and possibly saving lives. It's especially important that workers know how to recognize the signs of heat-related illness in themselves and their coworkers.”

Employers and employees seeking detailed information on the symptoms and treatment of heat-related illnesses can visit www.lwcc.com. For a wealth of centralized safety information for both employers and employees, visit LWCC's new microsite at www.saferplacetowork.com.

QUICK TIPS for COOLING DOWN from Heat Stress*:

Factors Leading to Heat Stress:

High temperature and humidity
Direct sun or heat
Limited air movement
Physical exertion and poor physical condition
Some medicines
Inadequate tolerance for hot workplaces
Types of Heat Stress:

Muscle cramps
Heat exhaustion
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion:

Headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
Weakness and moist skin
Mood changes such as irritability or confusion
Upset stomach or vomiting
Symptoms of Heatstroke:

Dry, hot skin with no sweating
Mental confusion or losing consciousness
Seizures or convulsions

Employers Should Encourage Workers to:

Drink plenty of fluids (5 to 7 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes)
Reduce or eliminate alcohol and tobacco intake
Build up tolerance for warm environments by gradually increasing working time
Stay physically fit
Dress in light colors, if possible
Dress in loose clothing, if possible
Alternate work and rest periods

What to Do for Heat-Related Illness:

Call 911 immediately! While waiting for help:
Move the worker to a cool, shaded area
Loosen or remove heavy clothing
Provide cool drinking water
Fan and mist the person with water

Detailed information is available at www.lwcc.com and at these related links:

www.occupationalhazards.com; www.healthhits.com

LWCC (www.lwcc.com) is a private, nonprofit mutual insurance company. It is Louisiana's largest writer of workers' compensation insurance, covering about 22,000 policyholders in the state. LWCC was recently named, for the seventh consecutive year, one of the top 50 property and casualty insurance companies in the nation—out of more than 3,000—by Ward Group, the leading authority on insurance industry benchmarking.

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