Hot child in the city: The dangers of summer jobs for young employees

Recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched a campaign to promote public awareness regarding the dangers of working under the heat. The goal is to inform workers about various hazards and stress the importance of taking appropriate safeguards under burning rays.

While the campaign is relevant to all outdoor workers, it is extremely helpful for younger and newer employees who are unfamiliar with applicable employment laws. In between the spring and fall, many young workers acquire summer jobs that require labor in the heat. Whether he or she is the neighborhood lifeguard, the amusement park operator or an employee of a lawn mowing business, young workers should understand that the heat poses serious risks – especially for the inexperienced. This is because those unfamiliar with the lengthy workday have not built up a tolerance to working in hot temperatures.

Generally, sweat helps cool the body in hot conditions. During extreme temperatures, however, the body’s mechanism for cooling is not sufficient. Body temperatures can spike to dangerous levels if individuals are not careful. Those suffering from heat illness can experience the following issues:

  • Heat rash.
  • Heat cramps.
  • Heat exhaustion.
  • Heat stroke.

These are just a few problems that result from dangerous exposure. Some consequences are fatal.

The good news is that if you work under the sun – even temporarily – your employer is responsible for providing a working environment that is safe from extreme heat. For example, your employer should provide water, shade and rest. Moreover, workloads should be gradually increased, and workers not accustomed to working long hours in the heat should be given frequent breaks. This will help your body adjust to the heat.

In addition, it helps if employers educate you about the dangers of heat-related health issues. You should be familiar with the signs of a problem. Your employer’s training program should touch on how to prevent heat injury on the job and what to do if you experience trouble.

In the meantime, OSHA’s website provides advice, which can help you handle hot temperatures:

  • It is important to drink water throughout the day.
  • If you are feeling exhausted, take a short brake in a shaded area.
  • A hat and light-colored clothing can help protect you from beating rays.

These are some tips, which can help regulate your body temperature in extreme working conditions.

If you suffered from heat illness on the job or have been harmed in any capacity, take the time to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. A lawyer can help you assess your employment rights as you take the time to recover.