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Lack of acclimation reason for heat-related workplace injuries

It is shaping up to be another hot summer in California. This means it is more important than ever for employers to be up-to-date on heat safety regulations and procedures. Reports from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration indicate that one of the leading reasons for heat-related workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities is a lack of acclimation process for workers. 

One of the main responsibilities of employers during the summer months is to ensure that heat prevention programs are in place and that employees have been property trained. With temperatures often topping 100 degrees, many California workers are exposed to extreme heat. This is especially true for outdoor workers, but may also include warehouse workers and others.

In addition to familiarizing workers with the signs of heat stroke, employers can do many things to promote safety and provide a proper heat acclimation process. Providing cool water, shade, break times, wearing light-colored clothing and training workers to keep an eye out for others are just some of the ways that employers can equip workers to be safe in the heat. This is even more important for workers who are older, overweight or have pre-existing medical conditions.

During the California summer, it is normal for people to experience illnesses related to heat exposure when they work outside. While it is important to prevent this as much as possible, it still occurs. People who have experienced workplace injuries or illnesses have the right to medical care and recovery of income related to time missed from working. Heat-related illness is typically a valid ground for a workers' compensation claim. 

Source: westernfarmpress.com, "OSHA: lack of acclimation programs lead to heat injuries", June 26, 2016

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