Employers must take steps to protect workers from the heat

While New Jersey might not be quite as hot as Arizona, it is still experiencing extremely high temperatures. If you can stay where the A/C is always on, you can hopefully ride it out without too much cause for concern. Yet most people need to work, and many workplaces are not equipped for such extreme heat. What’s more, some jobs require people to be outside in the heat or work in exceptionally warm conditions from the start – like cooks in a kitchen or factory workers.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) gives three words to help employers understand what they can do to protect their workers from the heat:

1. Water

Employers must provide access to water and sufficient breaks so that employees can drink enough to stay well-hydrated.

2. Rest

Working in the heat is exhausting, and employers must accept that employees may need more rest stops than on a cooler day. They might also consider making breaks longer, for example, stopping work altogether for a few hours during the hottest part of the day, which people already do in many warmer parts of the world.

3. Shade

Anyone working directly under the sun’s rays faces additional risks. There are forms of temporary shade available, such as overhead netting that can help reduce the sun’s effects on workers. Adequate clothing, such as wide-brimmed hats can also help. That said, sometimes it is just too hot to be out under the sun. Employers might consider moving the workday forward to beat the worst of it. Shade is also crucial for rest breaks.

The risk of heat is real. If you have suffered injury or illness due to the heat at work, you may need to learn more about your options for a workers’ compensation claim.

FindLaw Network

View All
Practice areas