As summer temperatures soar, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is reminding employers and workers of the dangers associated with working outdoors in hot temperatures.
Last year, the agency received more than 200 reports of worker hospitalizations related to heat exposure. There were at least eight heat-related workplace deaths in 2015, and 18 heat stroke-related worker deaths in 2014. OSHA is already investigating multiple worker fatalities that have occurred this year.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are heat-related illnesses that can occur when workers are exposed to high levels of heat.
Signs of heat exhaustion include:
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid heat rate
Signs of heat stroke include:
- High body temperature
- Skin that is dry, red and hot
U.S. employers are required by law to protect workers from safety hazards, including high heat levels. Heat illnesses and deaths can be prevented, and employers should have heat illness prevention measures in place to stop their occurrence. Such measures include:
- Making water and shade available for workers
- Allowing workers to rest when temperatures are high
- Monitoring employees for symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke
- Educating workers regarding heat illness prevention
According to OSHA, certain work environments put workers at greater risk of suffering heat-related injuries. At-risk workers include those who:
- Are directly exposed to sunlight on the job
- Execute laborious tasks over long work periods
- Wear heavy or impermeable protective gear on the job
- Are new to the job and do not have a tolerance for hot working conditions
During summer months, those working outdoors are greatly susceptible to heat-related workplace injuries. Baggage handlers, farmers, landscapers and utility line workers are some groups identified by OSHA to be at a greater risk when outdoor temperatures are high.
If you have suffered a heat-related injury on the job, you may be entitled to compensation. The workers’ compensation attorneys of GWC Injury Lawyers will work to maximize your settlement for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.