Heat can be a major factor in workplace illness

The heat in California continues and harvest season is nearing. As the harvest nears farmers are paying close attention to the well-being of crops such as almonds, walnuts and pistachios. The continuing heat has the potential to cause crop damage. In addition to being a threat to the crops, the heat can also pose a risk of workplace illness to those people who are working in the fields.

Under federal and California law, employers must recognize workplace hazards and take steps to protect their employees. The risk of heat illness is a serious hazard that can be managed by exercising a few precautions. Everyone should be familiar with the signs and causes of heat-related sickness. There is no set temperature where risks increase. Depending on the humidity, heat and work being done, symptoms may appear even at temperatures in the 70s.

A few steps to preventing heat-related maladies include providing plenty of water, providing breaks from the sun as needed and also allowing for rest breaks. Procedures should be fully documented and training should be provided. Another precaution that farmers can take is to account for all employees at the beginning and end of a shift.

A person in California who feels he or she might have experienced a heat-related workplace illness may benefit from speaking with a workers' compensation attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can review the circumstances and advise his or her client on one's rights regarding the situation. A lawyer can advise one as to what legal options are available.

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