The weather is warm in Massachusetts, which can seem like a good thing after a long winter. Unfortunately, those who work outdoors during these hot summer months may find the climbing temperatures to be a serious health risk. Each year, thousands of workers are exposed to excessive heat on the job and some of these workers are even killed as a result of heatstroke. OSHA aims to prevent this with its campaign to prevent heat illness in outdoor workers. The campaign is called the Heat Illness Prevention Campaign.
Our Boston work injury attorneys know that heatstroke can happen in as little as a few minutes when exposed to excessive temperatures. The body can quickly warm to the point where sweating is unable to cool you down. Body temperatures can reach 106 degrees or higher and cognitive damage can begin to occur that it is not possible to recover from. Continued heat exposure can lead to death, leaving devastated family members behind.
Employers and employees need to understand this serious risk and need to take steps to prevent heat-related on-the-job injuries during the summer. OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention Campaign provides important information to help.
OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention Tips
According to the OSHA website, OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention Campaign has reached more than seven million people and has distributed around half a million fact sheets, training guides, wallet cards and quick cards outlining the dangers of over-exposure to heat. OSHA has also formed a partnership with the National Weather Service , which includes precautions to workers in its Excessive Heat Watch, Warning and Advisory Products.
OSHA aims to reach all workers who could potentially be at risk of workplace injuries and all employers whose companies put workers into situations where heatstroke is a potential concern. Those at the greatest risk of a heat-injury from doing their jobs include any workers routinely exposed to hot and humid conditions. Workers doing manual labor or heavy work tasks in hot temperatures are in the greatest danger, as are employees who need to wear bulky protective gear outdoors in the summer. The risk of heatstroke and heat illness can also be worse for workers who are not used to hot conditions and whose bodies have not adapted.
For these and other workers spending time doing their jobs in hot climates, OSHA has three key tips to prevent heat illness: water, rest and shade.
OSHA suggests that employers limit the amount of time that workers spend out in the sun or heat each day. When workers are out in the heat, they should take plenty of breaks and get plenty of rest, escaping periodically from the hot conditions to sit down in a cool place and let their bodies cool down. Employers are also encouraged to urge employees to drink lots of water and to build up to a heavy workload in hot conditions.
If employers help new employees get acclimated, train them in the risks of workplace heat injuries, provide water, encourage drinks and provide plenty of rest breaks, hopefully workers can avoid death or injury due to heatstroke during these hot summer months.
If you are injured on the job in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation claim– 1-888-367-2900.
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