THURSDAY, JUNE 15, 2023
As summer arrives, employers should account for any changes in the risks and perils that may affect their employees, such as heat-related illness. Organizations have a legal and ethical responsibility to take care of their employees and prioritize their health and wellness. With this in mind, implementing adequate safety precautions and understanding how to manage heat illnesses are critical.
What Are Heat Illnesses?
Heat illnesses can have devastating short- and long-term consequences. Hot working conditions, strenuous labor and inadequate rest breaks can all contribute to heat illnesses. Common heat illnesses for employers to be aware of include the following:
- Heat rash—These uncomfortable and painful rashes may include red bumps and severe itching, and can occur in hot, humid work environments when the sweat glands are plugged.
- Heat cramps—These muscle spasms usually affect the arms, legs or stomach and are generally caused by dehydration. Heat cramps can occur during work in a hot environment or begin a few hours later.
- Heat exhaustion—This condition may occur when the body’s internal temperature regulating system has been overworked and may cause surface blood vessels and capillaries to collapse.
- Heatstroke—This is a dire form of heat illness that can prove fatal. Heatstroke occurs when the body is depleted of water and salt, resulting in the core body temperature rising to dangerous levels.
How to Protect Employees From Heat Illnesses
An employee suffering from heat-related illness may be in significant danger. To minimize these risk levels and help ensure that workers are as safe as possible, employers should implement heat illness prevention programs, which may involve the following steps:
- Monitor workplace conditions, such as the outdoor temperature and humidity levels.
- Adjust work schedules to reduce heat-related risks by planning outdoor and more strenuous tasks during cooler parts of the day, such as early mornings and evenings.
- Ensure adequate hydration by providing employees with plenty of cool drinking water and reminding them to replenish their fluids regularly.
- Provide indoor or shaded areas to allow workers a reprieve from the hot sun and warm conditions and encourage employees to take frequent breaks.
- Monitor employees closely to ensure signs and symptoms of heat illness are recognized before they escalate in severity.
- Acclimate new workers by gradually introducing them to hot working conditions before assigning them a full workload.
- Educate employees about the symptoms of heat-related illness and encourage them to report potential symptoms to their supervisors immediately.
Implement response plans in case an employee requires emergency medical services due to heat-related illness. Make sure all employees are trained in these procedures.
We’re Here to Help
Heat illnesses pose a significant threat to employees, especially during summer. Unfortunately, even the most diligent and responsible organizations may not fully suppress these risks. An adequate workers’ compensation insurance policy may be an invaluable investment to help ensure that employees affected by heat illnesses can receive the care they need to recover.
At RCU Insurance Services, our knowledgeable and experienced agents are ready to help. We have over 20 years of experience working with businesses, families and individuals to provide optimal coverage solutions. Contact us today to get started.
This blog is intended for informational and educational use only. It is not exhaustive and should not be construed as legal advice. Please contact your insurance professional for further information.
NOTICE: This blog and website are made available by the publisher for educational and informational purposes only.
It is not be used as a substitute for competent insurance, legal, or tax advice from a licensed professional
in your state. By using this blog site you understand that there is no broker client relationship between
you and the blog and website publisher.