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Dangers of Heatstroke for Outdoor Workers

Posted on in Orland Park Personal Injury Lawyer

heatstroke, Orland Park workplace injury attorneyThe summer months are very enjoyable for most people. Warmer weather permits a number of fun outdoor activities—going to beaches, barbecues, hiking, and, of course, just playing outside for children during the school break. But for those who have to work outside, the heat of summer can cause serious illness and even death.

Potentially Fatal Heat-Related Illness

That is what happened to one man – a 23-year-old landscaper – who recently died after working in the heat all day. Officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) say the man was assisting with tree trimming work and his duties included flagging traffic, chipping limbs, and stacking brush. He began at approximately 7:00 a.m., but by 4:30 p.m., his body became overheated. He was rushed to the hospital, where his core temperature was measured at 108 degrees. He died the next day.

Every year, more than three dozen workers die from heatstroke and more than 4,000 workers fall ill from the heat. OSHA believes the number of fatalities may actually be higher since many heat-related deaths are listed as heart attacks and not the real cause – heatstroke. This error may be attributed to the lack of autopsies performed in these situations.

People who work in the construction industries, as road workers, farm workers, and trash collectors tend to be the most at risk for being overcome by the heat. Especially vulnerable are workers who are new, as their bodies have not had a chance to acclimate to the heat. The young landscaper who died was only in his fourth day at his new job when he fell ill.

Preventing Heat-Related Incidents

OSHA urges employers to make sure their workers are protected from the heat and offer the following directions:

  • Make sure workers are provided with plenty of rest, shade, and water;
  • If a worker is new (or returning), make sure they are allowed enough time to acclimate to working in the heat. Allow them frequent breaks and a gradual increase of workload.
  • Workers should be trained for heatstroke prevention and there should be an emergency plan in place; and
  • Make sure that someone is in charge of watching any signs of illness in workers.

Under the law, it is every employer's’ responsibility to provide their workers with a safe environment. If you have suffered a work-related injury or have lost a loved one in a work-related accident, contact a skilled Orland Park workplace injury attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have for your pain and loss. Call 708-966-2408 for your free initial consultation.


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