Employers in Kentucky know that with the summers bring with them high temperatures and the risk for heat-related illnesses. Therefore, they must do all they can to protect their workers, whether indoors or outdoors, from heat-related hazards. The first recommended step is to establish an injury and illness protection program, tailoring it to the work crew’s size and shift lengths.
Next, employers may set up training for heat stress prevention. Workers should know the effects of heat and the symptoms that can arise from heat-related illness. OSHA provides training resources and guidelines, and the Occupational Safety Councils of America offers a Heat Illness Prevention Program for both employees and supervisors. Third, it may be good to have a tool for assessing the heat index and the impact of heat for each day.
Engineering controls are also essential. Employers may find that central air conditioning is too unwieldy or too expensive for their workplace, in which case they could invest in portable evaporative coolers. These coolers come in a variety of sizes.
Lastly, employers may want to create a one- or two-week heat acclimation program in the effort to reduce heat fatigue and, with it, mistakes on the job. This may mean taking a slight loss in productivity, but the results should make up for it.
When workers do develop a heat-related illness, they may have to undergo treatment and take time off work. By filing for workers’ compensation benefits, though, they can be covered for those medical expenses and for a certain amount of lost wages. This is where legal representation might prove to be beneficial. Employers have a right to deny benefits to those who cause their own injuries, but with an attorney, victims may be able to mount an appeal. The attorney might also help others file for a settlement.