Summer months in the Southeast get especially hot in the areas we serve at Roundtable Insurance: Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. High temperatures are nice for beach and pool days, but they can create deadly conditions for those who work outdoors. As an employer, you’re responsible for providing a workplace free from serious hazards and, if you employ outdoor workers, helping to keep them safe from heat-related illness must be a top priority during these summer months.
Approximately 90% of heat-related injuries and deaths occur between June and September every year. Understanding the ways to prevent and identify heat injury, as well as having a plan in place for addressing these conditions, can help you avoid a worker’s compensation claim for your business.
Let’s start with prevention.
Preparing for Working in the Heat
- Create written plans and procedures for preventing, identifying, and handling heat-related injuries and illness.
- Communicate these strategies to your team through ongoing training.
- Monitor weather conditions by checking the forecast daily, and plan for how it will impact the work schedule, water intake, and breaks. Also, have a thermometer on the jobsite to monitor outdoor temperatures throughout the day.
- Stay Hydrated. Provide outdoor workers with clean, cool, potable water at no cost to them.
- Keep Cool. Ensure access to naturally shaded areas, when possible, and create a designated cool down area, if necessary. Provide portable fans or wet disposable towels for use, as needed.
Even with your best prevention efforts, heat-induced illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke can occur if the body is unable to cool off by sweating. Supervisors and staff should be trained on how to recognize the signs of heat injury.
Recognizing Signs of Heat Injury
- Dizziness, Lightheadedness, or Fainting
- Extreme Weakness
- Profuse Sweating
- Nausea or Vomiting
- Dry, Hot Skin with no Sweating
- Strong, Rapid Pulse
- Dizziness and Nausea
- Confusion or Irrational Behavior
- Seizures and Convulsions
- Loss of Consciousness
Lastly, you should have a plan and a well-trained staff prepared to react if a heat-related injury occurs.
Responding to Heat-Related Illness
- Have a pre-designated individual, with first aid training, administer first aid.
- Move the affected person to a cool, shaded area.
- Loosen or remove any heavy clothing.
- Provide cool, not cold, drinking water.
- Fan and mist the person with water.
- Contact 911, if necessary, and provide precise directions to the worksite.
- If an employee has an on-the-job heat-related illness or injury and is unable to work, you may need to file a Worker’s Compensation claim.
While this is not an all-inclusive list of ways to prepare, recognize and respond to heat-related injuries, implementing these measures is a great start at protecting your employees this summer. Your Worker’s Comp Insurance Carrier can provide you with additional information and resources. For questions about Worker’s Compensation Insurance, please give us a call at (770) 726-8700 or Request A Quote now.