As summer heats up, Pennsylvania workers can face additional threats to their health and safety on the job as a result of heat stress. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has no official regulations governing heat stress in the workplace. However, OSHA has engaged in an ongoing awareness campaign that aims to increase the use of preventive measures in workplaces nationwide to prevent the dangerous effects of excessive heat exposure. Even in states where heat stress is regulated for outdoor workers, regulations governing heat exposure are some of the most frequently violated rules.
There are multiple risks to workplace safety that can accompany excessive heat in the environment. For example, a number of animal studies indicate that the way bodies absorb chemicals in heat varies from their normal rate of absorption. For workers who deal with toxic chemicals, this can mean that their toxic exposure shoots up rapidly in overly hot environments. In order to protect workers from occupational disease, it can be important to take additional protective measures in the heat.
In addition, a number of workplace injuries can be traced back to heat. Illnesses like heat stroke, syncope, heat exhaustion, cramps and rashes can be caused by excessively hot temperatures. In 2017, 24 workers lost their lives on the job as a result of heat. This is not to mention the injuries indirectly caused by heat, such as those linked to sweaty palms, fogged goggles and protective equipment and the reduction in brain function that can accompany dangerous heat levels.
Hot environments on the job can be not only sweaty and unpleasant but also dangerous. A workers’ compensation lawyer may represent workers dealing with illness or injury caused by excessive heat exposure in the workplace. An attorney may work to help injured workers protect their rights and receive the compensation they deserve.