As Pennsylvania workers start to gear up for summer working conditions, numerous organizations warn of the hazards associated with heat illness. Whether working outside in the direct sunlight or indoors in a hot, humid environment, workers are reminded to take steps to remain cool and hydrated.
No matter the workplace, managers and supervisors must ensure the safety of their employees and the safe conditions of the workplace as the temperature reaches dangerous levels. OSHA recommends that employers take numerous steps to protect the health of their workers over the summer months, including:
- Designating a reliable person to oversee all actions, training and instruction of a Heat Illness Prevention Program. This person will monitor conditions, identify at-risk individuals and ensure safety precautions are adhered to.
- Supervisors must identify hazards such as a particular area in the building with poor ventilation or a zone outside that offers no shade or protection from the sun.
- Messaging should be consistent across all work areas to remind workers to take breaks, rest in a cool area and drink plenty of water to remain hydrated.
- The notion of acclimatization – that an employee must build tolerance to the warmer weather rather than dive straight in – must be recognized.
- The organization must be willing to explore modifying a work schedule to allow workers to do the heaviest labor when it is coolest.
- Everyone in the organization must understand the signs, symptoms and preventive steps of all forms of heat illness from a skin rash to heat stroke.
- The workplace must provide the appropriate gear that can protect workers from danger.
If you suffered a heat illness while on the worksite, it is crucial that you seek an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can guide you through the process. While factory work, construction work and heavy industry might be at risk for heat illness, workers in any occupation can struggle with heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rash.