If you work outdoors, you need no reminder that summer is in full swing. South Carolina’s hot and humid summers can make for some miserable days outside, even for those who work indoors.
But the summer weather isn’t just a matter of comfort. High temperatures can be dangerous for outdoor workers, including those in the construction and agricultural industries. Weather-related work injuries such as heat stroke are tragically common.
Business owners and managers have a responsibility to keep their outdoor workers healthy and as safe as possible. When it comes to preventing heat-related injuries and illnesses, employers must ensure that:
- Workers have easy access to water
- Workers are provided with cool and/or shady areas in which to take breaks
- Workers are given frequent breaks when the weather is very hot
- Workers have the supplies they need to protect themselves, including sunglasses, sun block and any specialty clothing they need for outdoor work
- Workers are closely monitored for signs of fatigue and other troublesome symptoms
Summer is a time when many teenagers take on seasonal work. These workers may be less likely to speak up if they are feeling faint and less likely to understand their rights in the workplace. As such, they are more susceptible to workplace injuries and illnesses. Companies that fail to protect their workers (especially those under 18) could face serious fines.
Whether you are an outdoor worker or an employer of outdoor workers, it is important to understand the dangers of heat-related injuries and plan accordingly.
Source: Safety BLR, “Are you taking necessary steps to protect summer workers?” June 5, 2014