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Watch out for sun poisoning and severe burns

When working in Florida, something you get used to is being out in the sun. For the most part, you know that your employer has the responsibility to protect people against serious heat-related illnesses, but did you know that they're supposed to protect you against sunburns, too?

Sunburns might not seem that serious, but an acute sunburn can be extremely painful and even cause a trip to the emergency room. Additionally, sunburns increase the risk of skin cancer.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration states that at sunburn is a second-degree burn and recordable injury. OSHA can cite a company if an inspector comes and sees workers without protection against the sun, such as easy access to sunscreen, hats or shirts.

Many companies now provide sunscreen to their employees to prevent workers' compensation claims over severe sunburns, skin cancer and other complications of exposure.

Can a sunburn really be that bad?

A severe sunburn is more than just an irritating feeling. It can cause sun poisoning, which causes:

  • Skin redness and tingling
  • Swelling
  • Fever and chills
  • Skin blistering
  • Pain
  • Dizziness
  • Dehydration

If your skin is burned badly enough that it blisters, covers a large portion of your body or is extremely painful, then you may need to seek out medical care. You could need intravenous fluids to help rehydrate you, pain medications and other treatments to prevent infection and complications.

Though people don't always take sunburns seriously, the reality is that they can lead to work injuries. If you are badly burned, tell your employer and don't wait to be seen by a medical professional.

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