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Summer heat poses a danger to workers

Workers in Missouri may face a particular threat to health and safety in the summer months. The summer of 2018 marked the fourth hottest on record, and many people fear that the increased temperatures are here to stay. Both indoor and outdoor workers can be affected by excessive heat even though people working outside may be more prone to the immediate effects of the temperature. Other aspects of the job may combine with the ambient temperature to escalate the risks of excessive heat, including warm mandatory personal protective gear or hot-running machinery and equipment.

Every year, around 1,300 workers lose their lives due to excessive heat exposure on the job. However, this outcome is not inevitable; proper precautions can help to prevent heat-related deaths and severe injuries. There are a number of steps that can improve workplace safety in conditions of extreme heat. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides guidelines and materials to train workers and managers about the symptoms of illnesses caused by the heat. The Heat Illness Prevention Program is another 45-minute program that provides information on how workers can stay safe in the heat. The federal government requires heat safety training in many industries.

Heat can also lead to other types of dangerous workplace accidents as it can slow reaction times in emergency situations. Some spaces cannot be cooled using air conditioning whether due to cost or other factors. However, some type of cooling assistance, such as evaporative coolers, can help to reduce the danger to workers on the job.

Heat can be deadly and dangerous, especially when employers fail to live up to their obligations to provide a safe working environment. Workers who have been injured on the job due to excessive heat may consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer about their options to pursue justice.