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Avoiding heat-related on-the-job injury

The summer months in California bring intense heat and an increased chance of heat stroke and other heat-related injury or illness. At this time of year, it is critical for workers to know how to protect themselves from an on-the-job injury and how to proceed in case they find themselves hurt or sick. Preparation is key for both heat safety and a full understanding of worker rights.

Employees should be fully aware of their rights when working in extreme temperatures. If an individual is required to be outside for his or her job, they must be provided with a shaded area for breaks and provided with free, unlimited water. Employers can also provide snacks and sports drinks to keep electrolyte levels up, and there should be a dress code of light-colored and lightweight clothing. 

Employers must make heat education a high priority, providing their employees with instructions on how to seek treatment, how to recognize signs of heat stroke and illness, and how employees can proceed if they are unable to work after becoming ill. Employees should be encouraged to look out for one another, as a person may be unaware that he or she is displaying troubling symptoms until it is too late. With preparation and education, heat-related illnesses and injury can be prevented.

When an individual suffers an on-the-job injury or illness, it is critical to seek medical treatment quickly. An employer cannot prohibit a sick worker from seeking care or taking breaks when needed. When rights are compromised or a workers' compensation claim must be filed, it is smart to seek the assistance of an experienced California attorney.

Source: ohsonline.com, "Heat Stress: How to Mitigate Disaster", Accessed on Aug. 16, 2016

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