The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched a safety campaign to remind employers in Maryland and around the country about the dangers of working outdoors during the summer months. Heat issues were responsible for the deaths of 18 workers in 2014 according to OSHA data, and more than 2,600 others suffered a heat-related illness of some kind. The federal workplace safety agency is urging employers to pay particular attention to their training and orientation programs, as many of its heat-related investigations involve workers with just a few days of on-the-job experience.
Water, rest and shade is the driving message of the OSHA campaign, which is being supported by a social media push and a redesigned webpage. Training materials include a video and illustrations of the signs and symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Employers can also download a heat safety smartphone app.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration assisted OSHA with the campaign's lightning safety tips and recommendations. Lightning strikes may be rare, but they kill about 50 Americans each year. Outdoor workers caught in a thunderstorm are urged to take shelter as quickly as possible and to remember that lightning can strike even when conditions seem to have calmed considerably.
People who develop a mild heat-related illness are often able to return to work after a short period of rest, but severe cases of heat stroke can cause debilitating injuries. Heat stroke sufferers may be eligible to apply for workers' compensation benefits, but navigating the claims process can be a frustrating experience. Attorneys may be able to make it more straightforward by assisting injured or sick workers with the necessary paperwork and advocating on their behalf if the claim is disputed or denied.