Summer is here, and the first month of July saw temperatures reach the mid-90s in Houston. As Texas, Louisiana, and nearby states have warmer weather, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration wants to remind employers of the dangers of working in the heat. OSHA wants employers to remember three crucial words: Water. Rest. Shade.
According to OSHA, essential steps for worker safety in the heat include the following:
- Encourage workers to drink every 15 minutes and rest in the shade while doing so
- Have an emergency plan in case a worker displays signs of heat-related illness
- Train workers about heat exposure, how to identify, and how to prevent it
- Allow workers to acclimate to the heat
Resources for Heat Safety
OSHA provides the OSHA-NIOSH Safety Tool has a free and simple way to determine the heat index of a worksite. Learning a location’s specific heat index allows employers to see official OSHA risk levels for their employees. From these risk levels, employers can follow protective measures for their workers.
To teach employers and workers about the symptoms of heat illness, OSHA has created an Occupational Heat Exposure page. Here, OSHA provides tips for how to care for someone suffering from heat illness and strategies to help prevent workers from working in direct sunlight for too long.
OSHA Warns About the Following Heat Illnesses:
Heatstroke represents the most serious threat to workers. It happens when the body is so hot that it can no longer maintain its core temperature. When a person suffers heat stroke, the stop sweating and stop dissipating heat. Symptoms of heatstroke include confusion, loss of consciousness and seizures.
When the body loses too much water and salt from sweating, heat exhaustion sets in. Those with heat exhaustion have headache, nausea, dizziness, irritability, thirst, and severe sweating.
In addition to heat exhaustion, the loss of water and salt from sweating can cause heat cramps. These cramps cause pain in tired muscles, especially the ones which workers use the most for their job.
Heat rash occurs when sweat does not evaporate from the surface of a person’s skin. A worker with heat rash will have clusters of red bumps on their skin. Common locations for heat rash include the neck, upper chest, and at folds of skin.
Workers Have Are Entitled to Safety
In the 1970s, the United States was losing too many workers because of unsafe work environments. After passing the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, workers received safety protections that had not been present during the first 200 years of the country’s existence. Today, this act continues to protect workers. However, because it has a limited number of inspectors, OSHA cannot monitor the safety of every workplace. Unfortunately, OSHA frequently learns of a dangerous work site after a tragic accident.
However, all workers have a right to confidentially file a claim with OSHA and inform them of any concerns that they have about the safety of their employer or workplace. If you’ve already suffered because of an accident caused by employer negligence, Arnold & Itkin is here to help. We’ve won billions of dollars while fighting for workers suffering because of the negligence of their employer.
Call us today for a free consultation of your case at (888) 493-1629. A member of our team is standing by to take your call.