Half the human body is water that, among other things, helps with regulate body temperature. In the summertime, the body works extra hard to avoid heat stress. Dehydration is a serious risk during the hotter months, and employers in Oklahoma must provide enough water and shade to protect workers. However, to avoid the discomfort caused by personal protective equipment, some workers go without it, risking workplace injuries.
The heat can affect both indoor and outdoor workers, and removing PPE even for a short time is risky. Workers should keep in mind that the hazards do not magically disappear for the period they work without the necessary protection. During that short time without PPE, workers are at an even higher risk of suffering serious work-related injuries.
Employers must keep employees informed about the injury risks they face, allowing frequent breaks during which workers can drink cold water and rest in a cool or shaded area to avoid heat exhaustion. Providing PPE designed for hot weather can help to keep workers comfortable while working. These could include sweat liners, vented hard hats, ventilated gloves, anti-fogging eye protection and cooling bandanas.
This summer, Oklahoma workers who suffer serious workplace injuries will find comfort in knowing that they can claim benefits through the workers' compensation insurance system. Reporting injuries or heat illnesses to their employers is crucial and should be done as soon as possible after medical treatment. That can get the benefits claims process going, and injured workers can choose to seek the support and guidance of an experienced workers' compensation attorney to pursue maximum applicable benefits for them.