The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has recently released a reminder to both workers and employers regarding heat safety. OSHA emphasizes the need to drink plenty of water and rest as needed in shaded areas while working in high temperatures.
You deserve to be safe at work, and that includes making sure your employer takes the appropriate precautions when working in the heat. If they fail to do this and you or a loved one suffers a heat-related injury at work, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our workers’ compensation lawyers to learn more about your legal options.
Risks Associated with Over Exposure to Heat
When the body’s temperature rises too high, you can suffer from heat stroke or heat exhaustion. In 2014 alone, there were 2,630 workers in the United States who suffered from a heat-related illness. Of those, 18 workers died from heat stroke. In 2015, there were at least eight worker deaths attributable to heat exposure.
These illnesses are completely preventable and workers and employers should be on the lookout for warning signs. Some warning signs that signal a worker may be suffering from heat exhaustion include:
- Sweaty skin
- Weakness or cramps
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Rapid heart beat
Responding quickly to signs of heat exhaustion can prevent more serious medical problems like heat stroke, which has symptoms that include:
- Red, hot, and dry skin
- Increased temperature
Call 911 immediately if you or someone else is experiencing symptoms of heat stroke.
Preventing Heat-Related Illnesses
OSHA recommends that workers who are exposed to heat drink water every 15 minutes, even if the worker is not thirsty. Workers should also try to wear hats and light-colored clothing if possible.
Employers should also teach employees the warning signs of heat-related illnesses and respond promptly if an employee expresses concern about themselves or a fellow employee. Workers should also be permitted to periodically rest in the shade to cool down.
Acclimating employees to the heat is important as well. Employers should give employees time to get used to the heat when they are first starting a job or when they are coming back from a break in employment like a vacation.