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High heat can make for hazardous working conditions

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has not published specific steps that employers must take to protect workers from heat stress on hot days. OSHA does, though, have a General Duty Clause that applies to protect workers in Pennsylvania from working in hazardous environments. On some days, the heat may rise to the level of presenting a hazard. Additionally, OSHA has published recommendations to protect workers from heat stress. Among the recommendations are providing breaks for rest and ensuring workers maintain healthy levels of hydration.

OSHA frequently receives complaints from workers when working conditions are hot and there is not sufficient water or breaks. According to a deputy commissioner of employee safety and security for the organization, OSHA responds quickly to such complaints. He also said that employees who are being required to work in hazardous conditions, the proper course is to file a complaint with OSHA.

Workers can protect themselves by bringing their own water to the job site and taking rest and shade breaks frequently. It's also a good idea for those working outdoors to keep skin covered with light-colored clothing and wear and hat or other head covering. The signs of heat exhaustion include fatigue, muscle cramps, nausea, dizziness and headaches, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Employers in Pennsylvania are required to provide workers with a safe environment within which to work, but many fail to do so. People who suffer on the job injuries due to heat or other workplace safety issues may be entitled to recovery via the workers' compensation system. A lawyer who handles workers' comp cases may be able to help by examining the facts of the case and putting together a claim, or by communicating with workers' comp on the client's behalf. A lawyer might be able to secure monetary compensation or other relief from the system or the employer.

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