Temperatures can reach up to the 90s in South Carolina during the summer months. Combined with heavy humidity, this could spell danger for outdoor workers. Employees who work outdoors even part-time can fall victim to heat-related conditions such as:
- Heat stroke
- Heat exhaustion
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to be mindful of temperatures for their outdoor workers and take necessary steps to prevent heat illness. In 2013, OSHA issued nearly a dozen heat-related citations to employers. If you were injured on the job, including a heat-related injury, you may be able to file a workers' compensation claim.
According to OSHA, all employers must establish a heat illness prevention program which includes:
- Providing workers with water, rest and shade;
- Gradually increasing workloads and allowing more frequent breaks for new workers or workers who have been away for a week or more to build a tolerance for working in the heat (acclimatization);
- Modifying work schedules as necessary;
- Planning for emergencies and training workers about the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and their prevention; and
- Monitoring workers for signs of illness.
Identifying Heat-Related Illness
If you work outdoors and you notice yourself or another employee displaying symptoms of a heat-related illness, remove yourself from the heat, hydrate, and call 911 if necessary. You can identify a heat-related illness by knowing the common symptoms:
- Heat stroke – Victims of heat stroke typically suffer from a high internal temperature, redness in the face, dry skin, fainting and sometimes seizures.
- Heat exhaustion – Victims of heat exhaustion usually suffer from headaches, dizzy spells, increased heart rate, nausea, and weakness of the limbs.
- Heat cramps – Victims of heat cramps might feel moderate to severe pain in the abdomen, arms, or legs. They may also experience muscle spasms.
- Heat rash – Heat rash appears in clusters and is typically characterized by red bumps. Most often, heat rash appears on a person's neck and chest.
If you suffered a heat-related illness at the workplace, contact a South Carolina workers' compensation lawyer at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers! We can help you through the workers' comp claims process and fight for the benefits you deserve. Call (888) 612-7001 today for a free case review! Click here to view our office locations.