OSHA Reminder: Texas Employers Must Protect Workers From Heat Related Illnesses
Feb. 27, 2017 5:20a
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
has released an important reminder that is directed at all Texas employers. In the coming weeks, and throughout the summer, Texas will experience extremely high temperatures. If proper safety precautions are not taken, working outside in these temperatures presents extreme risks to employees. Excessive heat is a significantly underappreciated work injury and work illness risk factor. If you have suffered a heat related illness, or injury, while on the job in Texas, please contact an experienced San Antonio work injury attorneyfor immediate legal help.
Heat stroke and Heat Exhaustion
The two most serious heat related conditions are heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Heat stroke can be very serious, even deadly, if not immediately treated. Heat stroke occurs when a person’s body completely loses the ability to regulate internal temperatures. Heat exhaustion, while less serious, can also cause serious injuries. A major concern is that it is difficult for the untrained eye to differentiate between the heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Everyone needs to watch out for the signs of a heat related problem, these include:
- Very heavy sweating;
- Intense headaches;
- Sudden feelings of dizziness and lightheadedness;
- Intense confusion;
- An elevated heart beat;
- Fainting; and
It is always better to be safe rather than sorry. If an employee is exhibiting any signs of a heat related illness, they must receive treatment. Texas employers should never pressure employees to continue working through their conditions. This is not an issue that should be ‘toughed out’. In fact, employers should take proactive steps to help protect their employees from heat related work injuries.
Preventing Heat Related Work Injuries
As part of OSHA’s summer safety push, the Agency is providing all employers with free access to their Heat Safety Tool.This tool is an application that can be downloaded directly onto a smartphone. It provides critical heat related safety information, in both English and Spanish. While heat does pose a tremendous risk, the good news is that Texas employers can follow OSHA’s safety guidelines and dramatically reduce the potential risks faced by workers. As a general rule, all Texas employers should keep the following heat related safety tips in mind:
- Ensure that any employee, who is working in hot conditions, drinks water every fifteen minutes;
- Allow employees frequent breaks, and provide them with a shaded area or a controlled climate during this down time;
- Make sure that employees wear hats and proper clothing;
- Teach employees the signs of serious heat illness, and encourage them to look out for one and other; and
- Remember that employees need to start slow. Heat illnesses are about the body’s inability to regulate temperature. When an employee's initially begins working in the heat, they need to be eased into it so that their body can properly adjust.
Do You Need Legal Assistance?
Texas workers must be protected from the serious dangers posed by the high summer temperatures. If you have suffered a heat related work injury or illness, you need to act quickly. Please contact the Law Offices of Ronald A. Ramos today at (210) 308-8811 to set up a free review of your case. Our team proudly represents work injury victims throughout the Texas, including in San Antonio, Laredo, Austin and San Marcos.