The state of Michigan enjoys relatively mild temperatures in the spring and summer months. However, the change in temperature can affect the health and performance of your workers. Heat stroke is a serious condition that can cause confusion, disorientation, or loss of consciousness. Workers suffering from heat stroke are more prone to dangerous accidents. If left untreated, heat stroke can damage the brain and other vital organs. Learn the symptoms of heat stroke and what you can do to protect your workers from this condition.

What is Heat Stroke?

Heat stroke is caused by prolonged exposure to high temperatures. Dehydration contributes to the development of this condition. The lack of water makes it impossible for the body to control its internal temperatures. Once core body temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit, the central nervous system starts to malfunction. This causes several noticeable symptoms.

  • Intense headaches
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Hot, dry skin
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Confusion and disorientation

Advanced cases of heat stroke can cause seizures or unconsciousness. However, even the milder symptoms are dangerous on construction sites with heavy equipment and power tools.

What to Do If You Suspect Heat Stroke

If you think your employee is suffering from heat stroke, use a thermometer to verify their temperature. If it exceeds 104 degrees, call 911 immediately. While you're waiting for help, use these techniques to help lower their core temperature.

  • Rub the victim's skin with lukewarm water. Place them near an electric fan or use paper to create a strong airflow over their damp skin.
  • Put ice packs on the victim's armpits, groin, back, and neck.
  • Place the victim in a tub of cool (not cold) water.

How to Prevent Heat Stroke

The best way to avoid heat stroke is hydration. Make sure your workers have enough water to keep them cool throughout their shift. This will allow them to sweat and naturally lower their internal body temperature.

Long-sleeved shirts made from light fabrics and wide-brimmed hats shield workers' from the harshest sun rays. Also, encourage your workers to use sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 for extra protection.

While roofers and framers are at higher risk of developing heat stroke, even indoor workers like electricians and plumbers can feel the effects of hot weather. Use these simple tips to keep your workforce strong throughout the summer season.