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Preventing workplace heat injuries in Colorado

A frequently occurring type of workplace injury in Colorado is a heat injury. Some heat injuries are very serious and can lead to death. As many employees work in hot environments, it is vitally important that their employers take steps to minimize the risk of their suffering from a heat-injury due to their working conditions.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, does not have specific heat-injury protections in place. However, they have interpreted the general duty clause to include employers taking steps to minimize the risk to their employees. In some cases, OSHA has proposed fines of up to $70,000 for employers who fail to take heat-injury prevention measures.

Employers should critically evaluate their workplaces, keeping in mind that if workers will be required to engage in a lot of strenuous activity or if they will be working in direct sunlight or in environments that have high temperatures as well as high humidity, such as a dry cleaning business, they may be more likely to suffer from heat injuries. Employers may be wise to use modified schedules to allow workers' bodies to gradually become acclimatized to the working conditions, as OSHA reported that a top cause of heat injury and death among workers is that they have not been allowed to gradually adjust to the heat.

Strong workplace safety plans along with training and the use of modified schedules can help to prevent the risk of heat injuries. Employers should have trained personnel who are able to recognize the signs of a heat injury. In the event that a person is seriously injured by heat exposure at work, they may file a workers' compensation claim. A workers' compensation attorney may be able to help them seek and receive the maximum amount of benefits available to them.

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