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How to Prevent Sun/Heat Exposure Workers Compensation Claims

Sun, May 13, 2018 at 3:25PM

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Summer means an increased risk of heat and sun exposure, especially for those workers who labor outside all or part of the time. Some team members aren’t aware of the increased risks that the warmer months bring. Others might adopt a lax or laid-back approach.

As a business owner, you likely already take steps to educate employees on preventative measures (for instance, drinking extra water). You might even require special clothing and equipment be worn to reduce heat-related fatigue. While this is a start, there are many other ways to you can prevent and reduce sun and heat exposure workers compensation claims. Here’s how to get started:

Know the Dangers

The first step is to glean a firm understanding of the augmented risks associated with sun and heat. This information should be relayed to employees. Then, ensure all team members fully understand their roles and responsibilities, as well as methods by which they can avoid heat-related accident and injury.  

This includes:

  • increasing and monitoring water intake throughout the day (diuretics such as coffee and soda should be avoided)
  • wearing loose-fitting clothing in light colors (cotton is an ideal choice)
  • choosing clothing that fully covers skin to reduce UV exposure (including long-sleeve shirts, long pants, wide-brim hats, and sunglasses)
  • regularly applying high-SPF sunscreen
  • taking frequent breaks in shady or cool areas (inside in the A/C is best)

It’s also important that employees are forthright about any medications they’re taking and how sun and heat exposure can affect them. Some workers are hesitant to disclose such information for fear of retaliation or simply embarrassment. However, honesty in this regard can prevent unfortunate incidents down the line.

Understand the Signs

The sun’s rays are most intense between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., according to ongoing research by the American Cancer Society. Unfortunately, these are also the core working hours for most industries whose team members labor out-of-doors. Therefore, it’s integral that everyone plays a role in preventing sun and heat-related complications. That begins with understanding when and how people are affected.

Sure signs of sun and heat-related complications include:

  • headache, dizziness, and light-headedness
  • disorientation or confusion / sudden loss of coordination
  • hot and dry skin/lack of sweating (despite warm temperatures)
  • weak or cramped muscles
  • nausea and vomiting
  • irregular heartbeat and shallow breathing
  • seizures and unconsciousness

Workers who feel ill should feel comfortable reporting this to superiors without fear of repercussions. In addition, team members should speak up when they notice signs of heat-related stress and injury in their co-workers.

Protect Employees and Your Business

As a responsible business owner, you want to do right by your employees. Also, the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act requires employers to take appropriate action to reduce the risk of worker harm. Reaching this goal starts with education.

Ensure all team members fully understand safety procedures. In addition, some equipment (such as respirators and work suits) can contribute to heat stress. This should only be used when necessary.

It’s also wise to review your company’s policies and confirm your business has comprehensive workers compensation insurance. Since 2002, we’ve helped countless Florida companies secure important insurance coverage. From workers compensation to business/commercial, construction, homeowners, automobile, and more, we have solutions to match your unique desires and requirements. Contact us today to learn more about how you can safeguard your business against a variety of claims.


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