Nationwide, 2,630 workers suffered from heat illness in 2014, the latest year for which data are available, and 18 died from heat stroke and related causes on the job, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
At greatest risk were workers just starting a job and not acclimated to the type of heat Marion County is experiencing this week.
Construction, road and agricultural workers should avoid direct sunlight where possible, OSHA says, and should not make the common mistake of assuming they are not at risk for heat stroke if they are still sweating.
To prevent heat related illness and fatalities, OSHA recommends:
- Drink water every 15 minutes, even if you are not thirsty.
- Rest in the shade to cool down.
- Wear a hat and light-colored clothing.
- Learn the signs of heat illness and what to do in an emergency, calling 911 promptly at the first sign of such symptoms as mental confusion or irritability
- Keep an eye on fellow workers.
- Take it easy on your first days of work in the heat. You need to get used to it.
Risk of heat stress increases for workers age 65 and older who are overweight, have heart disease or high blood pressure, or take medications.