We’re seeing temps hit the 90s and workers are exposed to more rigorous work conditions as summer enters full swing. The truth of the matter is that heat illness can be deadly and it’s a condition that we all need to take seriously. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are thousands of workers who get sick each year before they’re overexposed to heat on the job. Some of these workers even die.
Our Rock Hill workers’ compensation attorneys understand that these illnesses and fatalities are completely preventable. But what is heat illness? According to OSHA, it’s when sweating just isn’t enough to combat overheating. Our bodies need to sweat to cool, when the temperatures are high, more needs to be done.
These measures need to be discussed in your workplace today!
Employers need to make sure that workers are getting plenty of water to drink. This means that they should be provided with plenty of short breaks. Limiting time in the sun is a key factor in helping to prevent heat-related illnesses. It’s important that you’re getting plenty of water. Sports drinks are fine, but don’t forget that H2O. Provide your workers with liquids to drink or remind them to bring their own to stay hydrated.
It’s important that everyone has a chance to get acclimated to the heat. Start off by easing new employees into these work conditions. Provide them with plenty of rest time. The newer workers should be allowed more frequent breaks, too. A good idea is to schedule heavier work during the morning hours while it’s still cool out. Save the lighter work for the middle of the day when the temps rise. Work/rest cycles give the body an opportunity to get rid of excess heat, slow down the production of internal body heat, slow down the heart rate, and provide greater blood flow to the skin.
It’s important that you allow workers to stop and escape the sun occasionally. Getting out of the sun is important to keeping your body cool. Too much time in the sun increases workers’ risks for all kinds of heat illnesses. Spending your resting time in a shaded, cool area is the best way reduce the risks for these kinds of injuries. Take cover under a tree, in the air condition or even in a vehicle or a trailer. Workers should also make sure that they’re wearing the proper gear to help to keep them cool on the job. It might not be a fashion statement, but it can save lives.
Employers should include these prevention steps in worksite training and plans. Also, it’s important to know and look out for the symptoms of heat-related illness in yourself and others during hot weather. Plan for an emergency and know what to do — acting quickly can save lives!
If you or someone you love has been involved in a Carolina work accident, contact the Lee Law Offices at 1-800-887-1965 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case.
More Blog Entries:
New OSHA Rule for Crane and Derrick Workers, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, May 27, 2013
New Legislation Aims to Bolster OSHA Role in Worker Safety, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, May 25, 2013