People who work outdoors in hot and humid conditions are at risk of heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke, dehydration, and even death. Although everyone should take precaution when working in the heat, certain people are at greater risk than others.
Workers can acclimate somewhat to working in the heat, so individuals who are new to working outdoors, or anyone working outside at the beginning of the season will be more at risk, because they have not yet had an opportunity to adapt.
Preventing Heat Related Illness
Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not have specific rules that regulate what steps employers must take to protect workers in the heat, OSHA does require employers to protect workers form known hazards at work. These include high temperatures, humidity, and exposure to direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time.
If an employee is injured from the heat at work, he or she can file for Workers’ Compensation benefits to cover medical bills and lost wages. The Workers’ Compensation system is a no-fault insurance policy, which means that employees can receive benefits even if they do not take steps to protect themselves in the heat.
However, there are a number of steps that workers can take to avoid the dangers of heat-related illness, including:
- Drink plenty of water—approximately 4 cups per hour in extreme heat. Water temperature should be between fifty and sixty degrees Fahrenheit.
- Take water breaks every fifteen minutes.
- Avoid drinks with caffeine or sugar, as these can be dehydrating.
- Wear high SPF sunscreen, and reapply as necessary, particularly if you are perspiring or in water.
- Acclimatize yourself to heat conditions. Do not work outdoors in full sun on a hot day for a long shift without gradually building up a tolerance to conditions.
- If you must wear heavy protective clothing or safety gear, take frequent breaks in cool areas, preferably air-conditioned. Make sure that you are wearing moisture wicking undergarments. Follow all protocol and directives from your employer and the clothing or equipment manufacturer.
- Limit exertion in extreme heat.
- Use a buddy system. If you see a co-worker beginning to display symptoms of heat related illness, speak up or notify a supervisor.
- Schedule strenuous work for times of the day when the heat is lowest.
- Avoid drinking alcohol the night before working outdoors, as alcohol can also be dehydrating.
If you have been injured on the job, you may be entitled to immediate benefits for lost wages, medical expenses and more.
Employers are required to protect their employees from dangerous conditions, but do not always adhere to safety regulations in an effort to cut costs.
Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Injured Workers Obtain Maximum Benefits
The Workers’ Compensation system is designed to help injured employees get back on their feet and provide for their families in the event of a work-related injury or illness, without regard to fault. To speak to one of our seasoned Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers, call McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC today at 302-888-1221 or contact us online. We are dedicated to helping injured workers throughout Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, including Montgomery County, Chester County, and Delaware County.