With the warm months of summer finally here, you might be dreaming about your next vacation. Unfortunately, for people in many occupations, summer is hardly a time of rest. Instead, many industries actually see increases in the number of workplace injuries and illnesses. By having a better understanding of which ailments are the most common and which workers are most susceptible, you can make the right decisions to keep yourself safe on the job.
Common Summertime Injuries and Illnesses
There are a number of injuries and illnesses that tend to occur more during the summer months, with heat stroke being among the most common. This serious condition can be fatal and occurs when a person is exposed to dangerously high temperatures to the point of affecting organ function.
Another common summertime ailment is that of dehydration, which happens when a person is sweating out more fluids than they’re taking in. This is also very common when workers spend a lot of time outdoors in the heat without enough hydration breaks.
Sunburns are another summertime injury that can be quite severe. Failure to wear proper sun protection when working outdoors for prolonged periods of time can result in a serious sunburn that can cause permanent skin damage. Furthermore, serious sunburns can also increase a person’s chances of developing skin cancer later in life.
Slip-and-fall accidents are also more common during the summer months, especially around construction sites where debris is left laying out. Slips and falls can result in severe and life-threatening injures, ranging from fractures and broken bones to brain trauma and even death.
Which Occupations Are Most Affected?
Any occupation where workers spend time outdoors or indoors without climate control can be at greater risk of these summertime illnesses and injuries. However, some of the most frequently affected workers include:
- construction workers
- agricultural workers
- sports/recreation workers
- landscaping workers
Preventing Summer Injuries and Illnesses at the Workplace
The good news is that employees and employers can take measures to create a safer work environment for all. For starters, employers should always carry workers’ compensation coverage so that employees are protected in the event of an on-the-job injury. Furthermore, employees should be permitted to take regular breaks where they can receive some reprieve from the sun and hot temperatures, whether this is inside a building or an air-conditioned vehicle.
Employees should stay hydrated at all times, keeping an insulated water bottle filled with cool water with them on job sites so they always have access to water when needed. Regardless of whether it’s a sunny or cloudy day, workers are also encouraged to wear a high-SPF sunscreen. This is especially important for those working during the highest sun position of the day, which is typically during the mid-afternoon.
Finally, employees should be educated on the common signs of these workplace injuries and illnesses, including heat stroke and dehydration, so they can act quickly to get medical attention if they begin to show symptoms. With a little bit of foresight and planning, employees and employers can take the steps needed to create safer workplaces for everybody.