When you live and work in Oklahoma, you know that there are times of the year when you have to be particularly cautious. In the spring, summer and fall, there is a high risk of hazardous weather.
Temperatures can sometimes reach 100° Fahrenheit or higher. In fact, in western Oklahoma, there are more extreme summer temperatures than anywhere else within the state’s borders.
For your health and safety, you and your crew need to know the signs of dangerous weather, the risks of high temperatures and what you can do to stay safe.
Know the signs of a severe thunderstorm
The first thing you and your crew need to learn is how to recognize a severe thunderstorm. Oklahoma is well within Tornado Alley, and that means that there could be a real risk of a tornado if a thunderstorm approaches. You need to be prepared to seek shelter inside, even if you’re at a job site.
Keeping a weather radio on site is not a bad idea if you’re going to be outside. The state has seen thousands of tornadoes in the decades between 1950 and 2021, so it is absolutely worth being prepared.
Learn more about heat risks
Heat is another big problem for outdoor workers in Oklahoma. With temperatures that can be well above 100°F across a fairly substantial length of time, you have to be able to hydrate well and know when you’ve had too much sun.
You and your team should learn about the signs of heat exhaustion, heat stroke and severe dehydration. You should also have a plan for getting out of the sun regularly, keeping everyone hydrated and calling for help if an emergency occurs.
Your employer is responsible for keeping you safe
If you’re working outside for your employer, they have a responsibility to keep you safe. They need to consider providing water or access to cool and safe environments, so you can work while knowing that you have support when you need it. If you are hurt because you don’t receive the right training or the equipment you need isn’t available, you can look into making a workers’ compensation claim to cover your losses.