In the middle of July, temperatures are soaring in California and all across the United States. Workers have to be aware of the risks, as do their employers. Accidents, injuries and illnesses are a serious concern and can even be fatal.
Who is most at risk? Anyone who works outside extensively does face higher risks than normal, and examples include:
- Security guards
- Construction workers
- Roofing contractors
- Landscapers and gardeners
- Agricultural workers
- Road construction crews
All of these individuals could be at risk for heat injuries, heat illness or heat stroke. These issues can cause people to become dehydrated, pass out, lose consciousness, experience serious cramps, feel nauseated and more.
They can also increase the risks of other workplace incidents. For example, ladder falls are always a concern for construction workers. Now consider a worker who is exhausted and overheated while climbing the ladder. They could be dealing with dehydration and a severe sunburn. If they become lightheaded, that increases the odds that they will fall, and it can happen quickly during physical exertion. A worker who passes out at heights can fall and get injured when the same accident would not have occurred at cooler temperatures.
Work must go on, even in the summer heat. At the same time, though, workers who suffer injuries on the job as a result of that heat need to know what legal options they have. This is especially true if they knew they were at risk and felt pressured to work in an unsafe manner, such as putting in long hours to get a job done even though it was taking a physical toll.