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News & Press: Arizona Business News Updates

Employers Need to Take Heat-Related Illnesses Seriously

Thursday, May 12, 2011  
Posted by: Christy Coe
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Employers Need to Take Heat-Related Illnesses Seriously
SCF Arizona your Work Comp Specialist   

Provided by SCF Arizona  

Outdoor workers exposed to the searing Arizona heat need to be trained to prevent and to recognize the symptoms of heat illnesses.  

Yet each year an estimated 1,400 Arizonans experience a heat-related illness that sends them to emergency medical treatment. Data released by the Arizona Department of Health Services shows the average per person hospital treatment cost for a heat-related illness is about $7,500. On average, ADHS estimates between 30 and 80 Arizona residents die from heat-related illnesses each summer, with more than 70 percent of the hospitalizations and fatalities being men.  

Because of this, each year SCF Arizona, the state’s leading advocate of workplace safety and largest provider of workers compensation insurance, reminds Arizonans that when the temperature is high, the body has a more difficult time cooling itself.  

Common symptoms of heat-related illnesses such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke may include:
 
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Headache
  • Hot but dry skin
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion  

SCF’s loss controllers remind business owners that have employees working in Arizona’s heat to remember:

  • Workers should drink 5 to 7 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes; make plenty of fluids available to prevent dehydration       
  • Schedule the hardest work for the coolest parts of the day
  • Distribute workload evenly throughout the day
  • Require workers to wear personal protective equipment designed for working in the heat
  • Rotate workers from hot to cooler areas; shorter but frequent work/rest cycles are of greatest benefit to workers
  • Monitor workers for signs of heat illness

Employers and workers also should be mindful of the impact of certain medications that could cause illness during excessive heat. Advise employees to check with their physicians about their medications and susceptibility to heat illness. SCF Arizona offers employers Heat Stress, a free online video from its training library at www.scfaz.com. Also available in Spanish, the video explains the various phases of heat illnesses and what to do to prevent or recognize symptoms.

SCF Arizona is the state’s largest workers’ compensation insurer, providing coverage to about 30,000 active policyholders and their employees statewide. SCF has operated in Arizona for more than 85 years, holds in excess of $3 billion in assets. Based in Phoenix SCF, has a statewide presence. For more information about SCF Arizona, visit www.scfaz.com    

If you would like more information, contact your association coordinator. Harold Gribow (hgribow@asba.com) or Christy Coe (ccoe@asba.com)



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