Staying cool and comfortable during these hottest months of the year can be a challenge. You may have the air conditioning set as low as possible in your home and in your vehicle, and your family probably enjoys spending as much time as they can by the water. All these and others are ways to make hot days more pleasant, but you can’t very well lounge by the pool when you are at work.
In fact, even if you think your body is used to the warm climate in California, you may be at risk of heat-related injuries or illness at work when the temperature spikes. However, what you might not know is how susceptible you are to other types of accidents during the summer months.
Injuries are not limited to outdoor workers
You expect to hear increasing reports of workers suffering heat strokes, exhaustion and dehydration when the temperature reaches 90 degrees or higher. In fact, if you work in an industry such as agriculture, utilities, landscaping, construction or other outdoor work, the temperature probably dictates the intensity of your workload to avoid these health risks. However, one study shows that the higher the temperatures goes, the more likely you are to suffer injuries in other types of accidents, such as:
- Tripping and falling
- Falling from a ladder or other height
- Being struck by a moving object, such as machinery or a vehicle
- Getting a hand or other body part caught in machinery
The reason why you might be more susceptible to such accidents even if you work indoors is because the high temperatures can have a physiological effect that makes it more difficult for you to think clearly, remain alert and make sharp decisions. This can mean errors in judgment, slow reaction time and critical mistakes that jeopardize your safety. Research shows that if the temperature outside is in the 90s or higher, you could be at risk of these heat-related effects even while working in an air conditioned environment.
Your safety is key
More than 15 years ago, California mandated protections to reduce heat-related illnesses when the temperature rises above 95. This includes providing water, giving access to shade, training workers to recognize the signs of heat illness and planning outdoor work projects around excessively hot days.
Nevertheless, when the temperatures soar, your chances of suffering an injury on the job rise as much as 10%. You would be wise to learn how to protect yourself and what to do if you suffer an injury or illness on the job this summer.