Summer is an optimal time for many outdoor worksites to increase production, and there may be an increase in hours if the work is related to hospitality. Although workers may be experiencing good pay over the summer season, it is important for employers to ensure worker safety in the summer sun and heat. Employers should enforce summer safety rules and employees should advocate for themselves when work conditions may interfere with their safety while working in the heat. Although Workers’ Compensation is available for work-related accidents, following some sensible guidelines can help protect those working in the sun and avoid injury.
Some summer safety tips for workers and employers include the following:
- Ensure that workers stay hydrated. Employers should provide ample breaks and opportunities for employees to drink water during their shift, especially if it includes working in the direct sunlight. Workers should be encouraged to drink water or sports drinks that increase hydration, and they should be discouraged from drinking alcoholic beverages and too many caffeinated beverages because these drinks can increase the possibility of dehydration. Workers should also be encouraged to eat small salty snacks throughout the shifts to maintain safe potassium levels in the body.
- Use divided shifts. Shifts should be divided so that the same workers are not working the entire time during the hottest hours of the day. The hottest hours of the day with the most direct sunlight are normally 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Shifts should end or begin around noon if possible so that the same workers are not working the entire high sun time of 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
- Encourage employees to protect themselves. Workers should be encouraged to reapply sunscreen and bug spray during their shifts. They should also be encouraged to wear sunglasses, if possible. Some workers benefit from ultraviolet light protected long-sleeve clothing or hats, and the employer can provide this protection or encourage workers to wear protection during their shifts. Where possible, summer uniforms should be light colored for employees who are working outdoors. In the construction environment, workers can be encouraged to set up canopies so that they are not working in the direct sunlight where it is appropriate.
- Recognize heat exhaustion. Employees should be trained to recognize heat exhaustion among co-workers and speak up when they do not feel well or they notice another employee is exhausted. Some of these symptoms can include nausea, dizziness, excessive sweating, hot dry skin, and muscle cramps. Workers who suffer from these symptoms should take a break in a cool area and drink cool water. If symptoms do not improve in an hour, medical attention may be needed.
West Chester Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC Provide Legal Guidance for Those Injured at Work from Summer Heat
If you are injured or suffered a medical condition as a result of the summer heat while working, the West Chester Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC can help determine if you are eligible for Workers’ Compensation and next steps to take. Employers have a responsibility to keep employees safe while working outdoors in summer heat. If the employer has not provided adequate protections and precautions for the heat, they could be responsible for your condition or injury. Contact us online or call us at 610-594-1600 for a free consultation today. We are located in Exton, Pennsylvania where we serve clients throughout Downingtown, West Chester, Exton, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchlan Township, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.