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Preventing workplace injuries caused by heat exposure

During the summer, extreme temperatures and heat exposure threaten the health and safety of workers across the country. During this time, it is important for Pennsylvania employers to take steps to prevent workplace injuries caused by heat exposure. If a worker suffers the physical effects of overexposure to heat, he or she could be eligible for certain benefits granted to those who have sustained work-related injuries. 

There are certain professions that are a higher risk for heat exposure. These include firefighters, bakers, construction workers, farmers and any others who must work outside in the elements or around high temperatures. Those who work in direct sunlight, perform strenuous physical labor or those who wear heavy protective clothing are also at a higher risk for heat-related illness. Common heat illnesses include heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

Employers should provide employees with a shaded area to take breaks, access to free cold water and the ability to take a break when heat illness symptoms appear. Workers should be trained to recognize these symptoms in themselves and others as well as know how to react when they appear. Proper training can eliminate many risks on work sites, including the risk of heat exposure.

During the summer, it is important for Pennsylvania workers to protect their physical health. It is also equally important to seek rightful compensation for medical needs after suffering from heat-related workplace injuries. Those who suffer from illnesses directly related to their work duties should seek to understand their entitlements regarding financial support. A knowledgeable workers' compensation lawyer can help injured victims understand their legal options.

Source: Montgomeryville-Lansdale Patch, "Working Outside In Hot Lansdale Weather: Who's At Risk?", Justin Heinze, Aug. 3, 2015

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