Heat-related illnesses are no joke. They can, in some cases, prove deadly. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can fine companies that do not give workers a safe, healthy place to work. This can include a workspace that is too hot to be safe.
So, what should employers do? In warehouses and other large spaces, air conditioning alone may not be enough as the temperatures climb during the California summer. Some suggestions include:
1. Creating an official Heat Illness Prevention Program. When an employee is in charge of this program, he or she can watch out for warning signs and ensure that preventative measures are actually taken.
2. Making it easier than ever to access water. Just having it close at hand so that it’s not an inconvenience can increase intake, potentially staving off a dangerous event.
3. Letting workers take more breaks. It does cut into production, but breaks in shaded areas can work wonders.
4. Changing the schedule so that workers can be out in the heat as little as possible. There may be some essential jobs that have to be carried out during the hottest part of the day, but everything else could be shifted to the cooler mornings and evenings.
5. Giving workers training and education. Many people simply don’t know what signs lead up to a heat stroke or another serious event, and this knowledge can protect them.
Do you work for a company that forced you to work in hot, unhealthy conditions and wouldn’t give you the water or breaks that were needed? If you suffered from a heat-related medical condition as a result, you need to know if you can seek financial compensation.
Source: Material Handling and Logistics, “Protect Your Employees from Heat Stress—or Face the Consequences,” David Sparkman, June 06, 2017