While some workers are only required to spend a portion of their shift working in the sun or under high temperatures, others are often required to spend their entire shift working in hot and humid conditions. When a worker finds it difficult to perform their duties while working around heat, they should bring it to the attention of their employer who should then advise them on what they can do. Although an employer may not wish to have their worker step away from a task, even if it is for just a few minutes, they are required “to protect workers from recognized serious hazards in the workplace, including heat-related hazards” [Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)].
When outdoor workers are exposed to high temperatures, they are putting themselves at risk of developing a heat-related illness. This is why employers should not subject their employees to work under conditions that are likely to cause them to develop a heat-related illness such as heat exhaustion. Instead, employers should have safety practices in place to keep their workers safe. For instance, OSHA says that when employees are required to work in temperatures between 91°F to 103°F, employers should have the following protective measures in place:
- They should provide drinking water to their employees and remind them to drink water often. OSHA recommends workers consume about four cups per hour.
- They should review heat-related illness topics with workers such as how to recognize a heat-related illness, how to prevent it, and what to do if someone gets sick.
- Schedule frequent breaks in a cool, shaded area.
- Acclimatize workers.
- Set up a buddy system so that workers can look out for one another and watch for signs of a heat-related illness.
- When workers are required to wear heavy protective clothing, employers should schedule work to be completed when the heat index is lower, and they should also develop work/rest schedules.
Employers should be monitoring their workers carefully to ensure they are not showing any signs of a heat-related illness. OSHA also says that workers who are” required to perform strenuous activities, use heavy or non-breathable protective clothing, and are new to an outdoor job need additional precautions beyond those warranted by heat index alone.”
If you are entitled to receive workers’ comp from your employer, then your heat-related illness may be covered. Typically, your employer’s workers’ comp insurance would cover the medical expenses associated with your illness and you may even be entitled to receive a portion of the salary you would have made given your illness has kept you out of work for at least eight days. Now, if you suffered a heat-related illness at your job in Miami, FL, and would like help with getting your workers’ comp claim filed, the Miami, FL workers’ compensation lawyers at Mario Trespalacios P.A. are ready to help you.
In the event you already filed a workers’ comp claim and your employer’s insurer has denied it, the lawyers at this firm can assist with getting the issue resolved.
Mario Trespalacios P.A. can be contacted at:
9495 SW 72 Street, Suite B-275
Miami, FL 33173