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Taking heat precautions could prevent OSHA investigation

With the onset of summer come extremely high temperatures in California. Anyone who has even been outside in extreme heat for more than a few hours knows that the effects can be extremely debilitating. Dizziness, fainting and other more serious symptoms can result and lead to serious injury. Employers who have workers who remain outside for the majority of their workday must make sure that proper precautions are in place to ensure the safety of those workers, or they could be facing an OSHA investigation.

Cal/OSHA understands that the conditions for outdoor workers can be very extreme, which is why they would like to remind employers and workers of certain steps that can be taken to ensure safety. Making sure to take plenty of breaks in shady areas and consume plenty of water are two simple acts that workers can perform in order to significantly reduce their negative heat-related risks. OSHA representatives will be inspecting facilities all across the state to ensure that proper protocols are being followed. 

There are also simple steps that employers can take to reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses for their workers. The risk can be significantly reduced by having workers provided with information and training about heat-related illnesses and symptoms. By knowing what to look for, workers can request breaks when they are possibly experiencing symptoms. Employers should grant breaks for workers often and be sure to provide plenty of fresh water to drink.

Heat-related illnesses can be very serious, and should one result on the job, a worker may file for workers' compensation, which could result in an OSHA investigation. As long as employees follow proper protocols, however, their workers should not experience detrimental effects from working in the heat. If a question as to whether someone is entitled to workers' compensation arises, parties may find looking into California workers' compensation laws beneficial.

Source:, "Cal/OSHA issues heat sickness warning," June 27, 2013

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