The Occupational Safety & Health Administration is conducting an all-out blitz on the dangers of heat-related work injuries in Alabama and elsewhere. Heading into fall harvest season, the government’s top work-safety watchdog is also sounding the alarm about the risks of silo entrapment, and other farming accidents.
Our Birmingham workers’ compensation lawyers encourage employees to be mindful of the risks — and employers to do their part in preventing work injuries in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and elsewhere in Alabama. OSHA is pushing a web-based app aimed at helping employers keep workers safe in the sun.
“Summer heat presents a serious issue that affects some of the most vulnerable workers in our country, and education is crucial to keeping them safe,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “Heat-related illnesses are preventable. This new app is just one way the Labor Department is getting that message out.”
The app uses the heat index as published by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to determine necessary protective measures. Download here.
Tips to prevent heat stroke in Alabama include:
-Provide plenty of water.
-Schedule rest breaks in the shade or air conditioning.
-Train employees about the risk.
-Schedule heavy tasks for the cool mornings.
-Be prepared for medical emergencies.
About Heat Exhaustion:
– Can lead to heat stroke, which can be fatal.
-Occurs when the body quits cooling itself by producing sweat.
-Common symptoms are profuse sweating, vomiting, headache, muscle cramps and weakness.
-Heat stroke occurs when the body’s temperature exceeds 106 degrees and is a life-threatening medical emergency.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has decided not to involve itself in the requirements for farm transport through the fall harvest season — such rules and regulations will be left up to states, and to common sense. However, motorists are always at increased risk of car accidents in Alabama when large, slow-moving farm equipment hits the roads for the fall harvest season. Drivers of such equipment may also be exempted from the professional requirements of a commercial driver’s license.
“We have no intention of instituting onerous regulations on the hardworking farmers who feed our country and fuel our economy,” said Secretary Ray LaHood. “Farmers deserve to know that reasonable, common sense exemptions will continue to be consistently available to agricultural operations across the country, and that’s why we released this guidance.”
Lastly, OSHA is warning about the risks of worker engulfment and suffocation in grain bins.
“Suffocation from engulfment is the leading cause of death in grain bins and the number of tragedies continues to climb,” said Dr. David Michaels. “They can be avoided if owners and operators use well-known safety measures that are proven to prevent workers from being killed or seriously injured.”
Last year, 51 workers were engulfed in grain bins — the highest number on record. Twenty-six died.
Corn, wheat, oats or other grains can engulf and suffocate an employee. Workers standing in moving grain can be pulled under like quicksand. Three workers were killed during one week in June.