Summer Heat Related Job Injuries: How To Prevent Them
For many workers, summer means working outside in the blazing sun. Employees who spend a lot of time working in the summer heat may be at risk for sun burns, heat rashes, heat stress, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Serious injuries can occur because sweaty hands, fogged-up safety glasses and simple dizziness.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2830 nonfatal heat related injuries and illnesses occurred in the United States in 2015. South Carolina has one of the highest rates of nonfatal work injuries and illnesses due to environmental heat.
Firefighters, farmers, construction workers, roofers, landscapers and factory workers are common occupations in which workers can be exposed to high heat. Workers who are 65 years or older, overweight, have heart disease or high blood pressure, or take medications are at the greatest risk of heat stress.
The best way to prevent heat related work injuries is to take precautions. Employers for those professions should provide training to its employees on how to prevent heat stress.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) offers a number of recommendations to deal with hazardous heat conditions at the workplace. Some of these recommendations include the following:
- Restrict the time in the heat
- Increase the number of employees on the job
- Institute a buddy system where coworkers watch each other for signs of heat stress
- Offer adequate amounts of cool, potable water at all times
- Provide proper heat-protective clothing and equipment
- Use fans and other cooling devices
- Decrease steam leaks, wet floors or humidity
- Monitor the weather to know when a heat wave is likely to happen
- Create a heat acclimatization plan
If you have experienced a heat related injury on the job, contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer at Steinberg Law Firm to learn your rights and receive the compensation you deserve.