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The U.S. Department of Labor reports that with more than 110 million Americans exposed to excessive temperatures this week − heat indexes are expected to be above 90 degrees in almost all 48 continental states − the Occupational Safety and Health Administration urges employers to protect workers who may be exposed to extreme heat while working outdoors or in hot indoor environments.

It can be a matter of life and death.

Just this past Friday, a 23-year-old landscape employee working in direct sunlight near Poplar Bluff, Missouri, became overheated around 4 p.m. when the heat index was near 110 degrees. He had been chipping limbs, stacking brush and flagging traffic for hours that day. He was rushed to the hospital with a core body temperature of 108 degrees and died the following day from heat-related illness. July 22 was only his fourth day on the job.

What makes his death even more tragic is that it was entirely preventable. Heat-related deaths can be avoided if employers use commonsense precautions, and if they and their employees understand the warning signs of heat illness.

The symptoms of heat exhaustion: dizziness, headache, sweaty skin, weakness, cramps, nausea, vomiting, fast heartbeat. The symptoms of heat stroke: red, hot, dry skin; high temperature; confusion; convulsions, fainting.

During this heat wave, OSHA urges employers to plan additional precautions to reduce the risks of heat exposure. Those steps include acclimating workers to the hot environments, providing frequent water breaks, allowing ample time to rest, and providing shade.

One of the most common problems identified in heat-related deaths and illness of workers is the lack of an employer-run heat prevention and acclimatization program. Steps to prevent heat illness include:

  • Drinking water every 15 minutes, even if you are not thirsty.
  • Resting in the shade to cool down.
  • Wearing a hat and light-colored clothing.
  • Learning the signs of heat illness and what to do in an emergency.
  • Keeping an eye on fellow workers.
  • Getting used to heat with an “easy does it” approach on the first days of work during hot spells.

Some people assume that a worker is not at risk for heat stroke if they are still sweating. This is not true. You can be sweating and still have heat stroke. A common symptom of heat stroke is mental changes, such as confusion or irritability. Heat stroke is an emergency. Employees should know to call 911 and alert a supervisor as quickly as possible if there is any suggestion of heat stroke.

To learn more about the symptoms of heat stress see OSHA’s Heat Stress Quick Card. The risk of heat stress increases for workers 65 and older, for those who are overweight, have heart disease or high blood pressure or take medications.

Also remember that working in full sunlight, as the Missouri landscaper was doing, can increase heat index values by 15 degrees Fahrenheit. So that means if the temperature is 95 degrees, it will feel like 110 in direct sunlight. Employers and workers can track the heat index at their work site using OSHA’s free Heat Safety Tool app, available for iPhone and Android devices.

And don’t forget those employed in hot indoor environments, such as bakeries, warehouses and boiler rooms. They are also at risk when temperatures rise.

Each year, thousands of workers suffer the effects of heat exposure. Some even die from it. Let’s weather the summer heat with extra water, rest and shade and make sure each worker returns home safely.

Original Resource: https://blog.dol.gov/2016/07/25/preventing-more-deaths-during-a-national-heat-wave/

 

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If you have been injured in a workplace, construction, or any kind of accident, you may be entitled to money damages. If you think this is the case, call us at

THE LAW OFFICES OF KARIM ARZADI.

When you contact our office, we will immediately set up a free, confidential appointment where you will meet an attorney who will listen to you and evaluate your case.  We have conveniently located offices in Perth AmboyNew BrunswickJersey CityRoselle and East Orange. We understand traumatic brain injuries, neck injuries, back injuries and other medical problems caused by accidents and the problems that they can cause in your daily life.  Our law firm will always work to make sure you are compensated fairly.

Whether you were a pedestrian, a bicyclist, a shopper in a store, or the occupant of train, or car, motorcycle, boat or any motor vehicle, or have been hurt at an amusement park or at your workplace, bitten by a dog or injured in a fall down accident, you should immediately call one of the experienced personal injury attorneys at

 (732) 442-5900, 21-COURTLAW (212) 687-8529, during regular business hours or 1-800-RITELAW (800-748-3529) toll free.  You can even call either number on weekends or after regular business hours. We have offices in MiddlesexUnionEssex and Hudson counties.  call us .

 

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