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Heat exposure on the jobsite

West Virginia workers may face heat exposure at some point in their careers even if they do not work outside for long periods of time or at all. Heat-related illnesses can cause the body to lose electrolytes, lead to rashes and sweating and may cause the body’s temperature to rise to dangerous levels. OSHA recommends that employers educate their employees on the signs and symptoms of illnesses related to heat exposure and the appropriate action that should be taken.

Employers should select at least one employee to be in charge of heat safety for fellow employees. This individual should be persuaded to utilize electronic sources for information regarding weather conditions and heat levels that are expected to occur during the work week. Resources should also be provided to employees to stave off heat-related illnesses, including easily accessible drinking water and locations in which an employee can cool down.

For outdoor work environments, employers may consider changing assignments to accommodate an employee working during times of the day or week that are not as hot. Including designated periods of rest and accomplishing arduous tasks during the cooler part of the day are adequate measures to safeguard against risks to heat exposure. Indoor environments have an advantage in that air-conditioning units, fans and shades may be used to cool down the work area for the employees.

If an individual has suffered from a heat stroke after working in conditions that did not allow access to water or rest, they may consider speaking to an attorney. OSHA has recommendations for employers to ensure the safety of employees, and an attorney may be able to seek damages for medical care and loss of wages that an individual has suffered due to an employer’s negligence and a subsequent on-the-job infirmity.

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