NEW YORK – The temperatures keep rising and this weekend, the mercury should rise above 90 degrees in the Big Apple. For some New Yorkers, that’s great news (since we only get a few months of warm temperatures) but for many others, it’s dangerous. Those who are outside must take preventative measures to protect themselves from heat stress and in some cases, employers must be careful too.
With the climbing temperatures, it is especially important for those working outside to stay cool; a New York construction accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says not only can heat stress cause exhaustion – it can also lead to serious injuries and illnesses.
“A worker can begin experiencing symptoms of heat stroke within minutes working outside in New York,” construction accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “Heat exhaustion can lead to poor judgement and it can also slow down a worker’s motor skills so it’s important for everyone to stay hydrated and take frequent breaks in order to avoid serious injuries.”
According to the U.S. Occupational Health & Safety Administration, both air temperature and humidity can affect how hot a worker feels. OSHA follows the National Weather Service’s “heat index” chart to better measure the potential risk to workers.
Those who work outside face a higher risk of heat-related illnesses. Direct sunlight can add up to 15 degrees to the heat index. Although OSHA doesn’t have a specific safety standard for hotter temperatures, New York construction accident lawyers say employers have an obligation to protect workers from excessive heat.
“High temperatures are a hazard that anyone can identify but too often we see supervisors ignore safety and push workers to the point of exhaustion,” Cellino said. “It’s important for employers to take extra precautions to protect workers from overheating.”
During 2015, OSHA received more than 200 complaints of heat-related hospitalizations and at least eight workers were killed as the result of heat exposure. The agency reports it is already investigating several worker deaths this year.
Doctors and safety advocates say each accident is preventable and in most cases, simply giving workers water, rest and shade could have prevented an incident.
“Water is one of the most important aspects to staying cool during summertime heat waves,” Cellino said. “But when temperatures reach over 90 degrees, water alone may not be enough to prevent an accident – that’s why we are urging supervisors to give workers plenty of rest and time out of the sun while it remains hot outside.”
For more information about Cellino & Barnes or for more summertime safety tips, follow Cellino & Barnes on Twitter.