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Hot & Hazardous: Heat Illness in Your Workplace

Heat can be a real danger for workers during the summer, especially those who work outdoors. The extreme heat in our area this summer has even prompted U.S. Labor Secretary,  Hilda L. Solis, to issue a warning as a record heat wave swept much of the nation last month.

Temperatures in our area are still in the 90's. So, for your employees – especially those who work outdoors  --  summer heat is not only uncomfortable,  it can be down right dangerous.

Recognizing the immediate threat, OSHA is currently promoting a national outreach initiative to educate workers and employers about the hazards of working outdoors in the heat and steps needed to recognize and prevent heat illnesses.  The simple message: "water, rest, and shade."  Their website includes segments with resources, educational material and much more for you to use to make your workforce aware of the dangers and how to cope with the extreme heat this summer. 

As an employer, you want to protect your employees against possible injury and danger; so you will want to educate them to avoid heat-related illness. OSHA reports that, each year, thousands of outdoor workers encounter heat illness as they do their jobs, and it  often manifests as heat exhaustion. Heat Stroke can quick follow heat exhaustion if it is not handled promptly. Heat stroke was responsible for the death of 30workers last year.

OSHA boss, David Michaels warns workers that  "Drinking water often, taking breaks, and limiting time in the heat are simple, effective ways to prevent heat illness."

In addition to providing a full complement of resources and educational materials on heat illness, and to assist employers and employees, OSHA has partnered  with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide weather service alerts. These alerts will include worker safety precautions and will be available when heat alerts are issued across the U.S. You will also find pertinent worker safety information on NOAA’s Heat Watch Web page at http://www.noaawatch.gov/themes/heat.php

As a responsible employer, you want to be sure your employees are protected in your workplace and that, should illness or injury occur, you have the proper insurance coverage to assist with any claims.  In the face of threats to your employees’ health and safety such as the environmental danger from extreme heat,  we here at the William Sparks Insurance Agency suggest that you take a moment to review your company’s insurance coverage to be prepared before you need it.  We welcome your questions and would be glad to help you review your insurance policy at your convenience.

 

Tuesday, 09 August 2011 20:16

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