Texas workers have to deal with a lot of dangers when they go to work. First, Texas has a poor record when it comes to protecting workers. Also, Texas has a very large number of workers in industries with high incidences of injuries and fatalities. The oil and gas industry, construction industries, and roofers, long haul drivers, and farmers and ranchers are prevalent in Texas and among the most dangerous industries in the United States. Another risk for workers in Texas, is the Texas weather. Specifically, Texas summer heat is not only stifling for Texans but also presents a real danger to life and health for those working outdoors.
In the most recent year of recorded data for heat related deaths, 650 Americans died from heat related stress. Of those, 39 died while on the job from heat related injury. Texas heat ranges by regions but can exceed 110 degrees for a high in the summer with some regularity in parts of Texas. In other parts of Texas, the heat index can get even higher. Certain parts of Texas can have weeks and months where the highs exceed over 100 degrees every day.
According to OSHA, there are some things workers need to know to protect themselves during the hot summer months:
- Avoid direct sun exposure when possible;
- Drink lots of water;
- Wear clothing that can breath;
- Use a buddy system and learn about the symptoms of heat sickness;
- Avoid heat sources that are not weather related;
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol;
- Call 911 if you think you are suffering heat stroke;
- Move to a cooler or shaded area if you start to feel ill;
- Drink cold water; and
- Know the signs and symptoms of heat stroke.
Texas heat is dangerous enough just for people that happen to be outside. For those that must work outdoors, the heat can create a whole different mix of danger when combined with labor. Learn about the dangers and signs of heat stroke. Follow the guidance of professionals. And, most importantly, stay safe in this Texas heat.