June is National Safety Month and Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corporation (LWCC) issued a statement reminding employers and employees to take every precaution to avoid these illnesses, or possibly death, by following a few simple guidelines when working under extreme heat conditions.
Summers in Louisiana are among the most oppressively hot and humid in the United States with daytime high temperatures from mid-June to mid-September averaging 90°F or more. It is during these extreme summer temperatures that employees, such as construction workers, roofers, delivery persons, farmers, landscapers and even those working indoors, are most at risk for heat-related illnesses.
Employers are strongly encouraged to learn the deadly effects of extreme heat and humidity on workers and what steps need to be taken to protect them, such as drinking ample fluids, taking frequent breaks in a cool or shaded area, cutting down on caffeine and encouraging the wearing of light-colored clothes that reflect the heat instead of absorbing it. Employers should also be aware that heat-related injuries can occur in deceptively mild weather, due to high humidity, making working under these conditions particularly dangerous.
Additionally, preventive measures should be enforced by management and adhered to by all workers, not only those working outdoors. Heat-related injuries can also occur year-round for those working indoors in laundries, bakeries, restaurant kitchens and warehouses, despite efforts to keep these areas cool with air conditioners, fans and open windows.
According to Bruce Lambert, LWCC director of safety and loss prevention, “Making a few simple workplace adjustments, as well as providing proper training, can go a long way in preventing heat-related injuries, saving lost workdays and possibly saving lives. It’s especially important that workers know how to recognize the signs of heat-related illness in themselves and their coworkers.”
Employers and employees seeking detailed information on the symptoms and treatment of heat-related illnesses can visit www.lwcc.com. Information can also be found at these related links: www.occupationalhazards.com and www.healthhits.com. In addition, safety information is available in English and Spanish at www.osha.gov.
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