As the summer months approach, many Missouri workers will face exposure to higher temperatures. If your job requires you to be outdoors, it will be very important for you to understand how to stay safe and what to do to protect yourself while working. As temperatures rise, so do the chances an employee will experience illness or injury because of heat exposure.
Employers bear the responsibility of ensuring their employees are as safe as reasonably possible while at work. There are certain things employers can do that will help keep their outdoor workers safe while still allowing them to do their jobs effectively. If you do become ill due to the heat or sun exposure, it could be grounds to pursue a workers’ compensation claim.
Common hazards in the summer
Some safety risks may be especially concerning during the summer months. Weather-related hazards could lead to a higher chance that you will experience an injury or become ill. Some of these hazards may include:
- Sun exposure – Direct and prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to elevated body temperatures and sunburn.
- Poor air quality – Higher temperatures can lead to poor air quality in enclosed spaces, making it difficult to breathe. Allergens, dust and debris in the air can aggravate preexisting respiratory lung conditions.
- Bad weather – Extreme weather is common during the hotter months, and this can be very dangerous for those who work outdoors.
One way employers can minimize the risk of a heat-related illness is to provide a shaded area for regular breaks. They should also allow employees to drink water as needed and rest consistently. In some cases, it may be appropriate to rearrange the workday to allow workers to be indoors during the hottest hours of the day.
Filing a claim
If you become ill or suffer an injury as a result of your work, you could be eligible to seek workers’ compensation benefits. The intent of this type of insurance is to provide a way for employees to pursue losses related to medical bills and lost wages after a work-related illness or injury.
It may also include certain types of support, such as assistance reentering the workforce. If you think you could have grounds for a claim, you may want to learn more about your employer’s procedures and explore the legal options available to you.