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Excessive Heat Could Cause Workplace Illness

At this time of year, those with air conditioning are likely grateful for the opportunity to be inside. However, there are many people in Pennsylvania and across the country who cannot avoid the heat as their jobs require them to be outside. Unfortunately, extreme heat can result in a serious workplace illness.

As a result of soaring temperatures, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is working with the National Weather Service to ensure that those who work outdoors in excessive heat are aware of the potential dangers and the steps they can take to protect themselves. Employers are advised to encourage and allow workers to use water, rest, and shade to protect themselves. Taking breaks in a shaded area and drinking water every 15 minutes can help mitigate the risk of heat-related illnesses.

The Center for Disease Control estimates that 658 people die each year from a heat-induced illness. Heat can be especially harmful for those who are not accustomed to working in such conditions; in fact, one study found that most heat-related fatalities involve people who were in their first week on the job. As a result, it is recommended that new workers be allowed to acclimate themselves to working in high temperatures.

Unfortunately, even with these precautions, workers can suffer from a heat-related workplace illness - a condition that can be fatal. In addition to the physical harm that such an accident can cause, many people are unprepared for the financial aspects of an illness resulting from heat exposure at work. Fortunately, people in Pennsylvania who are injured or lose a loved one due to an incident occurring at work may be entitled to workers' compensation insurance benefits which can help them cope with medical bills, lost wages, and even funeral expenses in the event of a fatality. A professional with experience with these benefits, such as Dugan & Associates, can help those entitled to them fully understand their legal rights.

Source: equipmentworld.com, "NOAA and OSHA warn of the dangers of excessive heat for outdoor workers", Kerry Clines, July 7, 2017

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