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New research increases understanding of work-related heat risks

While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration doesn’t officially have regulations about heat stress, it’s still something that can affect workers in New Jersey. That’s why the agency has been making an effort to spread the word about the risks of working in conditions with excessive heat. The goal is to encourage employers to implement proactive measures to improve safety and minimize health and safety risks.

One of the ways employers may be able to reduce worker’s compensation issues related to heat-related injuries and illnesses is to brush up on research in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s 2016 update on heat stress causes and symptoms. It includes newer information on how climate change may be affecting worker risks, heat exposure hazards and evidence that redefines heat stroke and related symptoms.

Heat exposure may increase injury risks from fogged-up safety glasses, reduced brain functions and burns from steam and contact with hot surfaces. Risks may be even greater for bakers, miners, firefighters, boiler room and factory workers. Because signs of heat stress can be difficult to recognize, OSHA and NIOSH have created info-sheets with recommendations about training workers on heat hazards and illnesses. To prevent issues, safety advocates encourage frequent rest periods, reminding workers to stay sufficiently hydrated and eating regular meals and snacks to replace lost electrolytes.

When employer oversight or negligence may have contributed to a work-related heat injury or illness, a lawyer may investigate working conditions. This might include determining if employees were trained on how to recognize and report heat stress symptoms. Depending on the extent of related health issues, an affected employee may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses and more.