If you work outdoors in North Carolina, you know the summer months can be uncomfortable as temperatures begin to rise. In addition to sweating more and possibly experiencing sunburn, the summer months can also pose a risk to your physical safety as well. During the summer, you could be at a higher risk for specific types of injuries related to heat exposure.
Outdoor workers must be especially careful when the temperatures begin to rise. Heat and humidity can make it more likely a worker will be sick or experience an injury. Heat-related illnesses and injuries are preventable, and North Carolina employers have the responsibility of making sure their workers are as safe as reasonably possible. If you are an outdoor worker, you need to know how to protect yourself and what to do if your job makes you sick.
Extra precautions are necessary
During the summer months, you may be outdoors in weather than includes increased humidity and higher temperatures. There are certain precautions you could take that will allow you to be safer during the summer months, including the following:
- Provision or requirement of breathable clothing that allows for more regulation of body temperature
- Training for heat safety for newer workers who may not be experienced in working in extreme temperatures
- Allowance for regular breaks, as well as provision of a shaded area with water for break times
It is not necessarily the temperatures that place workers at the most risk. Employers should pay close attention to the heat index when making decisions regarding those who will be working outdoors. Each employer should have a heat safety plan and should be aware of how newer employees may not completely acclimatized to the heat.
Are you sick or injured?
If you become sick or injured as a result of working in the heat, there are legal options available to you. You have the right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits if your work is the reason for your illness or your physical injury, including heat-related problems from working outdoors during summer.
These benefits can provide you with coverage of your health care needs, recovery of a portion of your lost wages and other types of support you may need to get better and move forward. You will find it beneficial to know about how the workers compensation process works and what steps you may need to take to protect your interests.