Schemery Zicolello

A hot take on preventing heat-related illnesses for employees

As the temperatures rise, so does the chance that workers will suffer due to heat-related illnesses. While a Pennsylvania employer cannot do anything to control the temperature outside, there is much than can be done to protect the well-being of employees who work outdoors or in hot, humid environments. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration published a list of guidelines to help prevent heat-related illnesses for workers. By implementing these and other safety measures, workers reduce their risk of suffering from illnesses and missing time away from their jobs. If you suffered because of a heat-related illness due to your job, you have a rightful claim to certain benefits.

The serious consequences of heat illnesses

Heat-related illnesses can be quite serious, and victims may require hospitalization, medical treatment and need an extensive amount of time to recover. Body temperatures can rise to dangerous levels, but there are certain steps that employers can take to help workers stay cool and safe, even while working in outdoors in the elements, including the following:

  • Allow new or returning employees to gradually increase workloads and amount of time in the sun and heat
  • Provide access to unlimited cold water, free of charge
  • Provide workers with shade and opportunities to rest
  • Have an action plan for heat illness and train workers on the importance of heat safety
  • Monitor workers for signs of illnesses

As an employee who works outdoors or in environments where high temperatures are possible, such as in a warehouse, you and your co-workers should receive training for the following:

  • Taking it easy when working in the heat or in high temperatures
  • Wearing hats and other lightweight clothing
  • Drinking water at regular 15 minute intervals
  • Taking regular rest breaks in the shade
  • Be familiar with the signs of heat illness

If you work outdoors or have a job that requires you to work in the heat occasionally, you would be wise to know how to stay as safe as possible, as well as be aware of your rights in case you become ill due to your job requirements.

Are you eligible for workers' compensation benefits?

If you become ill because of your job or suffer from any type of occupational illness, you have the right to seek benefits through your employer's workers' compensation insurance. You may first seek the help of an experienced attorney to help you complete the initial claim and fight any complications that arise. With this knowledgeable guidance, you may be able to secure the financial support you need as you recover from a heat-related illness.

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