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Beware of heat-related illnesses at work

On Behalf of | Jun 18, 2020 | Workers' Compensation |

While many people think about Minnesota as a cold and snowy state, the summers here can get hot. Because of the temperatures outdoors, as well as the indoor temperatures at some workplaces, it’s imperative that workers understand the hazards that come with working in those hotter temperatures.

One thing that people don’t realize is that your body can build up a tolerance to heat, so it’s possible that a person who’s just coming into a job that involves being out in the heat is likely more susceptible than someone who’s accustomed to it. .

Some heat-related issues are made worse by preexisting conditions, but that doesn’t mean that the worker should be held solely accountable for any problems that do occur. Instead, the onus is on the employer to ensure that workers have a safe environment. Part of that means that the employer needs to do its part to mitigate the impacts of working in the heat.

There are several ways that they can keep their workers cooler despite the heat. One option is to try to schedule the working hours, so they aren’t outside in the middle of the day when the sun is at its peak.

They can also ensure that workers are able to remain hydrated. Not only does this mean providing them with time to drink, it also means providing restroom facilities of some sort, even portable, and handwashing equipment so that workers can use proper hygiene.

Trying to provide shaded areas for them to take breaks and encouraging them to wear synthetic fabrics can also help. All employees must also be trained on spotting the signs of heat-related conditions, including heatstroke, heat cramps and heat exhaustion.

A worker who suffers a heat-related illness will likely need medical care. The cost of this should be covered by workers’ compensation, and the worker might be due other benefits, depending on the circumstances.