Pennsylvania employees who work outside during the summer months could be at risk for health issues related to heat stress. High temperatures could also cause goggles to fog up or surfaces to become extremely hot, both of which could lead to workplace accidents. According to OSHA, 24 workers died because of heat stress in 2017, but the actual number is thought to be higher.
In addition to the risk of death, heat stress could cause dizziness, rashes or cramps. To prevent heat stress or heat stroke from occurring, workers should be encouraged to wear light colored clothes and drink at least 8 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes. It's also important to snack regularly as this will replace salt and electrolytes that are lost through sweat. In addition, new workers should be given more frequent breaks or a lighter workload in their first week on the job.
If workers need to exert themselves outside for long periods of time, it may be best to have them work in cycles. When not working, individuals should be given time to rest in shady areas or rooms with air conditioning. Supervisors should also check to be sure that workers are staying safe.
An individual who experiences a workplace illness or injury because of hot conditions could be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. The same may be true if they are hurt for any other reason at work. Depending on the severity of the accident, these benefits may be given out on either a temporary or permanent basis. To ensure a smooth and fair claims process, a worker may want to partner with an attorney.