Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – As the unofficial start of the summer season, it’s a good time for employers to review and implement their strategies to keep workers safe and healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes a variety of resources to help.
Workers going abroad should be aware of the potential risks they face and know how to protect themselves. For example, drinking water may not be safe in some countries. Therefore, it is advisable to drink bottled water or carbonated beverages from cans or bottles, and avoid tap water, fountain drinks and ice cubes.
While measles have garnered media attention of late, it is not the only outbreak that could affect travelers. Zika, which can cause serious birth defects for women infected during pregnancy, dengue viruses and malaria — both of which are spread through mosquito bites — may pose threats if there are outbreaks.
In some areas of the world, vaccinations may be needed up to 6 weeks before traveling.
Students on summer break and young adults are more prone to job-related injuries than other adult workers. Employers can prevent accidents and illnesses by:
- Providing safety training. Clear instructions for each task should be given. Safety precautions and possible hazards should be pointed out. Hands-on training on correct mistakes and ensure proper use of equipment. The training should be reinforced constantly.
- Supervising closely. Especially when younger workers first start, employers should have people with them to immediately correct any issues. A mentor or other coworker with more experience can be a good fit.
- Preparing them for emergencies. Seasonal workers need to be just as well acquainted with crisis prevention and mitigation strategies as any other workers so they know what to do if fire, violence, or other dangerous situations arise.
- Providing personal protective equipment and ensuring they know when and how to use it.
- Encouraging questions and open communications, so they don’t feel reluctant to share their concerns.
Heat stroke and heat exhaustion can be serious, even resulting in death. More than 600 people die of heat-related conditions every year in the U.S. The greatest risk is posed to older workers over the age of 65, as well as workers with pre-existing medical conditions, such as heart disease or high blood pressure, are overweight or take medications that are affected by heat.
In addition to workers who are outside are others in hot environments, such as firefighters, bakery workers, boiler room workers, and factory workers.
Staying cool and hydrated are crucial to protect workers. That means wearing cool clothing, drinking plenty of fluids, and keeping track of heat advisories.
Heat can also increase the risk of injuries due to sweaty palms, fogged-up safety glasses, and dizziness.
In addition to training workers about the dangers of heat-related problems and providing adequate amounts of clean cool drinking water, employers should try to limit the time workers are exposed to the most intense heat, increase the number of workers per task in hot environments, reduce the metabolic demands of the job, and implement a heat acclimatization plan.
Sunburn can also be a problem for outdoor workers, especially those with fair skin. It takes as little as 15 minutes for the sun’s UV rays to burn the skin, although the damage may not be apparent for up to 12 hours. Anyone working outside is advised to use sunscreen, and wear hats, sunglasses and long sleeves.