This being sunny California, most of us are familiar with symptoms of heat illness. Thirst, fatigue and dizziness can be good indicators that we have been in the sun for too long. These are signals we should all address immediately. This is especially true for construction workers, for whom the sun can be a relentless and draining foe.
Because of the threat of serious workplace injuries, construction workers simply cannot be allowed to suffer from heat illness. So much of their work places them in inherently vulnerable positions, such as on ladders, scaffoldings or at the controls of heavy machinery. One light-headed moment can lead to a fall from a great height or the slip of a hand holding a running saw or drill.
Of late, California has been in the throes of unseasonably warm weather. In order to reduce the risk of outdoor workers succumbing to heat illness, California Occupational Safety and Health Administration released an advisory recommending that employers do the following:
- Educate workers and supervisors on the prevention of heat illness.
- Provide a supply of fresh, cool water.
- Make available an area that is shaded where workers can cool down and recover.
- Have an emergency preparedness plan established for dealing with workers who demonstrate signs of heat illness.
California temperatures will likely stay high, or climb even higher, as we move into the summer season. Cleary, Cal/OSHA places the onus of protecting workers from heat illness on their employers. Any employer who is not taking proper precautions is acting in a negligent manner.
If through the course of ensuing hot weather months, you suffer any sort of injury due to heat illness caused by an employer's failure to see to your well-being, you need to respond appropriately. Contacting a California attorney who has insight into the processes required to obtain recompense for expenses due to on-the-job injuries may help you secure the full amount you are due.
Source: Hola! Arkansas, "Cal/OSHA Issues High Heat Advisory to Employers with Outdoor Workers," May 14, 2014