The workplace safety risks associated with Connecticut winters include vehicle collisions while driving for work and cold-related injuries, like frostbite, among those who work in outdoor environments. The summer months in Connecticut come with their own unique risks, especially for those who work outside.
Specifically, the warmer summer weather can lead to heat exhaustion, heat rash and heat cramps. If ignored and left untreated, exhaustion and other heat-related issues can progress to heat stroke, which could lead to hospitalization or even death.
How can workers who do outdoor jobs stay safe in the heat of the summer?
Employers should provide support for outdoor workers
Most companies expect their workers to show up even in the most intense weather imaginable, but they may have to provide certain forms of support to make work safer. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognizes the risks that outdoor workers face in warmer weather. They caution employers to take adequate steps to protect workers who must do their jobs outside in the elements.
Providing cooling stations can be a good move. An indoor space nearby with air conditioning is one option. A tent or canopy that provides shade is another. Ensuring adequate access to hydration is important. OSHA recommends providing at least a pint of water an hour. Giving workers breaks and allowing them to take lunch when the sun is at its zenith could also reduce the risk of heat-related injuries.
Workers and managers should look for signs of heat exhaustion
When caught early, heat exhaustion may lead to nothing more than minor symptoms, like headache and dizziness. If not addressed quickly enough, individuals could lose consciousness or suffer severe medical consequences.
Workers who are too hot may sweat profusely or stop sweating. They may stumble as they walk because of exhaustion or dizziness. Employers and workers at outdoor sites should keep heat-related injuries at the front of their thoughts throughout the hottest parts of the year.
Workers who require time off or medical treatment because of heat exhaustion may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits for their care and their lost wages. Learning more about how to prevent and manage workplace injuries can help those in high-risk work, like construction or road repair during the summer months.