As we move into the hottest time of the year in Minnesota, it is a good time to discuss the effects of heat on the human body. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that heat-related illnesses can occur indoors, as well as outdoors. Heat stroke, heat exhaustion and similar medical conditions related to furnaces in factories or recycling plants, outdoor jobs that include extensive exposure to the sun and heavy work requiring the use heavy safety clothing in hot conditions can all lead to serious heat illnesses.
Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related medical condition. When the body can longer regulate body temperature, a worker can become confused, experience seizures and lose consciousness. If hazardous conditions are included in the workplace, the decreased ability to focus on job duties from heat stroke can cause falls and serious work injuries well beyond the heat stroke. But make no mistake -- OSHA warns employers and workers that heat stroke is a serious issue. Workers should consider heat stroke as a medical emergency and know that the condition can be fatal in and of itself.