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How can employees prevent heat-related workplace injuries?

During the summer, it is very important for Pennsylvania workers to understand how to work safely in the heat. As temperatures rise, workers are exposed to a greater risk of heat-related workplace injuries and illness. With the proper precautions, employers and employees can work together to make conditions as safe as possible during the summer months. 

It is important to wear the proper clothing during the summer months, especially those who are prone to burning and those with lighter skin. Wearing cool, loose clothing, along with hats, can prevent sunburns and other injuries. Employers are required to provide shaded areas for outdoor workers, as well as allow for needed breaks. Employees should take advantage of these safety measures in order to protect themselves from unnecessary injury.

It is easy for outdoor workers to become dehydrated during the summer months. Dehydration can lead to serious health conditions and even exacerbate existing medical problems. Some of the most common types of illnesses related to dehydration and heat exposure include cramps, heat stroke and heat exhaustion. It should be noted that all employers are required to provide fresh water to employees free of charge.

If a worker suffers the effects of heat exposure or dehydration due to the conditions of his or her job, workers' compensation may be available. These benefits may be granted to cover the cost of any medical treatment for workplace injuries and the financial impact of missed work. Dehydration and heat-related illnesses should be treated as potentially serious conditions, and Pennsylvania workers may find it beneficial to seek assistance in order to successfully claim the compensation that is needed.

Source: osha.gov, "Working Outdoors in Warm Climates", Accessed on July 6, 2015

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