Experience Brings Results

Risk of injured workers increases with higher temperatures

As Oregon enters the hotter phase of the summer, there is a higher risk of injured workers as the temperature rises. There are certain precautions that can be taken by employers and employees alike to prevent injured workers facing harmful effects of heat-related issues. This risk is particularly high for those who work outside or do manual labor.

One of the ways that employers can help prevent heat stroke and other injuries is by properly training employees. This would include training them to recognize signs of heat-related illness and how to respond when they or a fellow worker falls ill. This simple preparation could lead to less illness and more productive employees. Some of the symptoms of which to be aware include no sweating, dizziness and shortness of breath.

Within the last few years, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that approximately 100 workers have died from heat-related illness. When employers give proper training, provide water and shade and adequate breaks, workers will be more protected from extreme heat. It should be of paramount importance for employers to provide every safety precaution to workers.

During the summer, it is not unusual for Oregon workers to have to deal with extreme temperatures while outside. Injured workers facing heat-related symptoms could require medical treatment and other effects. Employers should be responsible for providing a safe work environment, which would include providing what is necessary to stay safe in extreme heat. In fact, providing a safe work environment is important and one of the greatest responsibilities of all employers. If a worker suffers from heat-related illness, he or she could be eligible for workers' compensation benefits to cover the cost of any medical expenses.

Source: The Bulletin, "Hot jobs as sizzling temps continue; Workers around Bend take precautions in the heat", Valerie Smith, July 9, 2014

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