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Increased chances of workplace injuries related to heat

The summer is proving to be extremely hot in California, and those who must work in the heat should note safety standards that are in place to prevent heat-related injuries and illnesses. Because of the conditions in the state, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has outlined several stipulations for employers of those who work in the heat. One of the main responsibilities of employers is to properly educate employees on heat safety and preventing heat-related workplace injuries.

All outdoor workers should have access to cold water throughout the day, and workers should never be charged for this water. Additionally, shade should be provided for workers taking breaks when temperatures reach 80 degrees or higher. Employees should strive to monitor employees for signs of heat-related illnesses, and workers should be able to recognize these symptoms, which can include dizziness and nausea.

New hires in California should be allowed a period of time to acclimate to new outdoor working conditions. In addition to proper heat training, employees should never be penalized for asking for a break from the heat or reporting a heat-related illness or injury. A communication system should be in place so that ill or injured workers can effectively communicate with their supervisors or employers.

Workers who must be in the heat have the right to the safest work environment possible. When workplace injuries or illnesses occur, workers may be eligible for compensation through their employers' workers' compensation insurance. The workers' compensation system can be complex, and injured workers may find it useful to seek the assistance of lawyers to help navigate the claims process. 

Source: mynewsla.com, "Heat wave hits Southland; beware of possible ailments", Ken Stone, June 17, 2015

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