Whenever there are extremes in temperatures, special care must be taken to ensure workers have a safe working environment. Summer can be an especially dangerous time of the year, particularly if your work requires you to be outside during long periods of time. An accident at work can happen in just a second, and preventative measures are always recommended to prevent them from happening.
Whenever the body can’t cool down quickly enough, sun or heat stroke are real dangers. Exposure to extreme temperatures for long periods of time can very quickly lead to a heat-related illness. Even short exposures to heat can be dangerous, so it’s always advised that extra care is taken when temperatures are high.
A heat-related illness often causes symptoms such as:
- Elevated body temperature
- Muscle cramps
- And even a coma in extreme cases
Any type of physical labour undertaken during long periods of time under the sun can lead to too much sun exposure. Sunburns can occur when the sun exceeds the melanin’s ability to protect itself. Sunburns can cause red and painful skin, however, it doesn’t always appear immediately.
When the effects of a sunburn become visible, the damage is already done and sometimes even irreparably. Extreme sunburns can lead to blisters and swelling or even chills, fever, and weakness. In more extreme cases, people can go into shock.
Depending on the food in question and whether it needs to be refrigerated, it should never be left out in the heat for over one to two hours – the higher the temperature, the lower this time will be. Foods like fish, meat, poultry, and cheese can spoil very quickly, leading to large colonies of bacteria that will make you ill.
Employers should provide adequate facilities for food storage and ensure that any food they provide is safe for consumption.
Insect bites may not seem like a worry you need to have, but they can prove to be dangerous. The bites or stings typically cause painful or itchy, small and red lumps on the skin, which can clear up within only a few hours.
Serious allergic reactions to wasps, hornets, or bees need to be taken into account. Someone can easily suffer anaphylaxis, which translates to dizziness, swollen mouth or face, and breathing difficulties. 999 must be called for an ambulance straight away if this happens.
Similarly, tick bites can be dangerous and, unlike bees, for example, you may not notice you’ve been bitten straight away. In the UK, ticks carry Lyme disease and can easily become a serious issue if not removed immediately. Any symptoms of Lyme disease that may develop translate into an immediate GP visit.
Horsefly bites can often be very painful, with symptoms like raised and red skin, wheezing, hives, dizziness, swelling or puffiness, and weakness. These bites can become infected as they take a while to heal.
Some spiders in the UK are venomous, which their bites causing vomiting, nausea, dizziness, and sweating. Infections and allergic reactions can happen on rare occasions, and medical is essential in these situations.
Heat Cramps and Heat Rashes
Alongside watching out for dehydration, heat cramps can occur when the body rapidly loses salts and fluids during sweating. Workers suffering from these muscle pains need to drink plenty of water every 15 minutes to replenish lost fluids.
Extremely common in hot work environments, heat rashes occur due to sweating. They can look like pimples or blisters and be painful and uncomfortable. They are common in areas such as the upper chest, elbow creases, neck, and groin.
Should you happen to work in an environment in which tools or other objects are left in the sun, these should be carefully handled, especially if made of metal. Metal can heat up very quickly and, without proper PPE, it can cause burn injuries to exposed skin.
Make sure to get in touch with our professional team for expert advice on making an accident at work compensation claim. Give us a call on 01772 562084 to request a callback and to book a free, no-obligation consultation.