The prevention of heat-related work injuries

California employees who work outdoors or indoors in hot areas may not be entirely aware of some of the dangers that the heat can present. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, this heat can lead to serious injuries and death if not properly prevented or treated.

In the course of their job duties, many workers may be required to be in high temperatures for extended periods of time. This can lead to a number of heat-related illnesses that can have serious health effects. For instance, heat stroke occurs when the worker’s body stops regulating heat. This can lead to their body temperature rising to critical levels, which could potentially cause death. Slightly less serious is heat exhaustion, which can still cause headaches and nausea, among other symptoms. Heat cramps and heat rash are other conditions that can develop while working in the heat.

According to OSHA, there are procedures that can be put in place to help prevent serious on-the-job injuries related to heat exposure. Giving the workers ample opportunity to be in the shade and to rehydrate is one important part of prevention. Rescheduling work to avoid the hottest times of the day or season is another. A supervisor should be tasked with recognizing potential heat-related hazards and managing prevention and response activities for the benefit of the workers. These workers should also be properly trained in recognizing the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and how they can be prevented.

When these important safety procedures are not implemented or followed, this can lead to serious workplace injuries. In these situations, an attorney may be able to help the injured employee file a workers’ compensation claim. This could lead to compensation for a percentage of lost wages as well as the costs of all required medical treatment.

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