Summer in Louisiana can be hot and steamy. While many love the warm weather, it can bring a whole new set of risks if you have to work in it.
Heat stroke is a severe threat to anyone required to work outside in summer or in an indoor environment with inadequate ventilation. Sunstroke, cramps and dehydration are also a risk. Any of these could need you to take a day or two off work. They could also lead to more severe injury.
The summer heat can take a huge mental toll on you, especially if dehydrated. It could leave you less alert to danger than usual. It could cause you to make mistakes you would not make if you were feeling at your best.
Workplace safety does not only rely on you. It depends on everyone else around you. A co-worker affected by the heat could make mistakes that end up injuring you. For instance, a construction site worker could drop something onto your head. Or a truck driver reversing into the loading bay could fail to see you due to the glare from the sun.
What should employers do to protect workers in extreme heat?
Employers need to account for the summer heat and its possible effect on employees. They should ensure there is an adequate supply of water. They should make sure there is adequate shade to rest in. Hot days require more frequent breaks or even rescheduling work to avoid the worst of the sun. Supervisors need to check workers are drinking enough water and are fit to carry on working.
Rain brings relief from the heat, yet it can also add danger. Summer thunderstorms can make surfaces slippery or increase the risk of electric shock if cables are not protected.
If an accident happens this summer, you need to understand how to claim workers’ compensation benefits. A seasonal injury could have year-round consequences.