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OSHA reminds employers of the dangers of heat in the workplace

It's no secret that summer temperatures in Oklahoma and across the nation can get pretty high. That's why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration initiates a campaign each year designed to educate employers and outdoor workers about the dangers of heat-related injuries and illnesses. Data compiled by the agency reveals that heat stroke claimed the lives of 18 American workers in 2014, and a further 2,630 suffered some sort heat-related illness that year.

The OSHA heat safety campaign supplies employers with resources such as illustrations depicting the symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion, a video tutorial, a smartphone app and a series of training and informational links. The agency places particular emphasis on the importance of providing new workers with sufficient training and acclimation time. Most of the heat-related deaths investigated by the agency involved workers who had been on the job for less than a week.

In addition to reminding employers of the importance of providing outdoor workers with regular breaks, an ample supply of potable water and shaded rest and recovery areas, OSHA has also joined forces with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to highlight the dangers posed by lightning. A joint fact sheet released by the two agencies reminds employers and workers that lightning can strike many miles from the center of a storm. The agencies encourage workers to seek shelter as soon as they hear thunder even when conditions seem calm.

Individuals who suffer heat exhaustion or some other form of heat-related illness at work may be eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits. Workers who have suffered minor workplace injuries are sometimes reluctant to file a workers' compensation claim due to the confusing paperwork involved. However, this could result in them not receiving benefits that they may be entitled to. A lawyer may assist a victim with the workers' compensation claim process.

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