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OSHA Releases New App to Help Prevent Heat-Related Work Injuries in Massachusetts and Elsewhere

Heat is still a major contributor to work injuries in Massachusetts. Recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released a new downloadable, mobile device application that lets employees and employers monitor the current weather conditions, more specifically the head index, at a number of local work sites. This way, workers will be able to better prepare themselves for the effects of the day’s heat.

“Summer heat presents a serious issue that affects some of the most vulnerable workers in our country, and education is crucial to keeping them safe,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.
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Our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys encourage all workers and employers to take advantage of this new mobile application as it is a very useful tool in preventing these types of job-related injuries and illnesses.

The application comes in both English and Spanish and offers heat index information from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The application also offers a number of safety precautions that workers should take to prevent heat-related injuries in there specific area. Employers are offered helpful information that will help them get their workers acclimated to the weather conditions as well.

The app is designed for the iPhone, certain versions of the BlackBerry and for users of the Android operating system. The application is available for download.

In 2009, it was estimated that more than 30 workers died as a result of heat stroke. Every year, thousands more are injured from heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses. Those who work outdoors, including farmworkers, landscapers, baggage handlers, construction workers, roofers and outdoor air transportation workers have some of the highest rates of heat-related incidents.

Heat-related illness is preventable. Employers are urged to:

-Schedule rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas.

-Provide workers with plenty of water.

-Schedule heavy work as early in the day as possible.

-Properly train workers with knowledge regarding heat and other job dangers.

-Be prepared for any type of medical emergency.

The Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, Dr. David Michaels, says that the Administration’s message should be clear. By remembering three words, rest, water, share, we should all be able to help prevent serious injury, if not death, from the hot weather conditions we’re facing this summer.

Common signs and symptoms for heat exhaustion include:

-Confusion
-Headache
-Dark-colored urine: The dark color indicates dehydration.

-Muscle cramps
-Dizziness
-Nausea
-Fainting
-Pale skin
-Fatigue
-Rapid heartbeat
If you observe a worker who may be experiencing heat exhaustion and is displaying some of the symptoms listed above, you’re urged to quickly move them to a cool place to rest. You should remove extra clothing from their body and put cool cloths on their skin. You should also fan their skin. Your best bet is to give them a cool sports drink that contains salt and sugar. Gatorade is a good drink for those experiencing heat exhaustion. If the victim is unable to follow commands, seems to be unconscious or is vomiting, then you’re urged to call 911 immediately!

If you or a loved one has been injured at work in the Boston area, contact Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Attorney Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-877-617-5333.

More Blog Entries:

Construction Workers Face High-Risk of Potentially Fatal Work Accidents in Massachusetts This Summer, Massachusetts Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, August 12, 2011

Salisbury Firefighter Suffers Injuries in Massachusetts after Firehouse Accident, Massachusetts Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, August 8, 2011