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Preventing workplace injuries and illnesses related to heat

As the weather gets warmer and spring arrives in California, it is important for both workers and employers alike to take safety measures against heat-related injuries and illnesses. This is particularly important for those employed in agriculture, especially farmers. Heat-related workplace injuries can have serious consequences, but education and safety measures can benefit employees.

In 2016, heat safety is the number one priority for California Division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The agency will be performing inspections of farms, looking for problems and hazards. Cal/OSHA will be working to educate employers on the best ways to protect the health of workers during the summer months.

Under the heat prevent standards, workers must be provided shade, access to water and given a sufficient amount of breaks. When employers fail to provide protection of excessive heat exposure or provide the safety measures required by Cal/OSHA, they could face fines and other consequences. If a worker does suffer from heat exposure, he or she should be informed of rights, including the right to file a workers' compensation claim to cover medical expenses and lost wages for any time missed from work.

Heat-related workplace injuries can include nausea, dizziness, stomach ailments, headaches, fatigue and even heat stroke. When work conditions result in the injury or suffering of a California worker, it is wise to work with a lawyer who is knowledgeable in the workers' compensation process and the rights of workers. A worker may seek assistance with the entire claims process, from filing the initial claim to appeals.

Source: agalert.com, "Heat safety remains priority for regulators", Bob Johnson, March 2, 2016

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