With the summer coming to a close, many outdoor Maryland workers will start to feel cooler air while operating at their shifts. Many are excited about the shift in temperature, but for some, it did not come soon enough.
Recently, the Maryland Department of Health reported that there were 25 heat-related deaths in the state this year. This is five times more than the total of 2017's and by far the highest it has been in the last five years. Since the year is not over yet, it still has the chance to go even higher.
Maryland workers that operate outside such as construction workers, law enforcement and firefighters are especially susceptible to getting heat-related illnesses. These men and women need proper training and safe areas to prevent possible skin cancer, heat stroke and exhaustion while continuing to work.
Minimizing the danger
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all employers to make efforts towards protecting the workers from intense heat. If the business primary operates outdoors, the employers should come up with a sufficient heat illness prevention program that the employees should follow. This program should include:
- Safe areas with shade or air conditioning to allow overheated workers to cool off
- Accessible cold water and ice to help them hydrate
- Training for individuals to help their co-workers if they show signs of a heat illness
- Balancing the workload so that new or older individuals do not push themselves hard
- Equipment to decrease the amount of heat a worker is getting
The employer should also ensure that this program is available in multiple areas of the workplace for anyone to check. Since most outdoor sites are large in scale, they should have multiple copies made and spread throughout the area.
The Maryland Department of Labor has called on employers to promote heat safety in the past by recommending them to give workers frequent water breaks and planning for emergencies. If you or a loved one suffer from a heat stroke or similar illness, you are able to potentially receive workers' compensation for your injury. Though the employers might try to deflect the blame towards you for not properly preparing or for preexisting work conditions, you can still receive coverage if you prove that working under the hot sun resulted in your injury.
Certain heat injuries can have long-lasting effects that impacts an employee's ability to work. If you want to receive the coverage you deserve, a local workers' compensation attorney can help you prepare your case for the courtroom. Their experience can be a crucial asset towards your recovery.