As summer continues to reign over the country, it is important for workers everywhere to understand the risks of working out in extreme heat. A heat-related illness can occur very quickly, and if a person does not recognize the signs of becoming overheated, the results can be fatal. It is important for employers to ensure that their workers are taking necessary precautions in order to stay healthy and hydrated while working in high temperatures. If employers become lax in their precautions, they could be faced with paying workers’ compensation benefits.
Luckily for North Carolina residents, employees who work outdoors can take precautions to help better prevent heat-related injuries. By wearing proper attire, such as light-colored clothing that is breathable, workers can reduce the risk of becoming overheated. They should also gradually acclimate themselves to changing temperatures should they be required to venture indoors after working outside in the heat or vice versa. Frequent application of a sunscreen and drinking plenty of water can also lower risks of sunburn, skin cancer and dehydration.
Employers also need to do their part to protect their workers from potentially dangerous conditions. They should provide proper training on how workers can protect themselves and make sure workers are following proper protocols. Employers should also be aware of cool-down methods should a worker become overheated and other first aid to administer to someone showing signs of a heat-related illness.
Proper protocols and procedures should be taken to help reduce the risk of any work-related injury. However, sometimes employers can fail to provide enough training or take adequate measures, such as providing shade or drinking water, and employees can become ill or even suffer fatal injuries. Should such an incident occur, an employee may be entitled to worker’s compensation benefits, and they may find information on North Carolina workers’ compensation laws beneficial in order to better understand their options.
Source: Aberdeen News, “Beat the heat,” July 19, 2013