Outdoor workers in California run a high risk for developing a heat-related illness, but there are ways to lower this risk. Everything starts with drinking water and avoiding those liquids that will only dehydrate, such as coffee and caffeinated soft drinks. Workers should eat fruits high in fiber and avoid foods with a lot of protein.
Workers should pace themselves
It’s essential that workers not rush through a job. They should take, or at least should be allowed to take, frequent breaks, preferably in a place with shade or AC. Workers should wear sunscreen, keep a damp rag around their neck and never have tight, heavy or dark-colored clothing on.
Knowing when one has a heat-related illness
Should workers suffer from a heat-related illness, they can benefit from being able to identify it quickly. For example, heat exhaustion is caused by loss of water and salt and will lead to excessive sweating, clammy skin, fatigue and dizziness. It could be accompanied by muscle cramps, mainly in the abdomen, legs and arms.
The muscles may even experience spasms; this is a clear sign of heat cramps. Workers may also incur a heat rash, which will appear as a cluster of red pimples or blisters. Lastly, they should watch for heatstroke. Its symptoms include a lack of sweating, a strong and rapid pulse and chills.
Injured or ill workers can seek compensation
If you suffered an occupational illness, you may have a workers’ compensation case on your hands. Unlike with a personal injury claim, you don’t need to prove that you were the victim of anyone’s negligence to receive benefits. Nevertheless, you may face opposition from the employer, who may deny payment because, for example, you reported the incident too late. You may consult an attorney about how to move forward.