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Are workers at risk for heat-related injuries?

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2021 | Workers' Compensation |

Minnesota has its cold and snowy winters, but residents may warn summertime visitors about the heat. Persons working both inside and outside might feel the heat worse than others. Physical labor, long hours, and strenuous activities don’t always mesh well with high temperatures. Workers run the risk of suffering from heat exhaustion, which could lead to a tragic outcome.

The heat raises health concerns

The human body can only stand so much exposure to extreme temperatures, and dehydration and overheating could cause adverse reactions. Unfortunately, federal regulations do not provide concrete guidance and rules for workers dealing with excessively hot environments. New legislation exists in draft form, and the bills attempt to set rules for breaks and more. Of course, proposed legislation carries no legal weight until signed into law.

Absent compelling legal guidance, some employers and employees find themselves addressing heat-related working condition concerns. Not every worksite emphasizes safety, which is another issue and a potentially dangerous one. OHSA points out workers have died from heat stress, and thousands suffered heat-related injuries. The figures come from a review of incidents spanning 1992 to 2017.

Addressing the risks of heat dangers

Some fundamental steps could potentially alleviate the dangers workers face. Providing access to drinking water may help, as long hours of sweating and feeling dehydrated might have disastrous consequences. Routine breaks designed to help address potential risks of heat exhaustion may give workers a necessary breather.

Regular training intended to warn employees about risks associated with working in the heat could have benefits. A little knowledge might keep a worker safe and on the job. If not, the employee may end up in the hospital, worried about filing for workers’ compensation benefits.

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