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The dangers of lightning and heat on the job

Louisiana workers and their employers should be vigilant about on-the-job hazards related to lightning and heat. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations on initiatives to better educate people about the dangers associated with both.

OSHA is reminding employers to make sure their outdoor workers have plenty of access to water and shade as well as regular rest periods. It has also identified factors that increase the likelihood of illness and death related to heat. One of those is a lack of heat acclimation. The federal agency has also produced a video, a heat safety phone app, training resources, an updated webpage and a list of heat safety tips.

In a fact sheet put together by OSHA and the NOAA on lightning, employers and employees are reminded that lightning is another potential safety hazard. The fact sheet reminds people that lightning can strike at unpredictable times and at places far from rainfall and that when thunder is heard, people should get inside for safety. They should then remain there until half an hour after the last sound of thunder. OSHA says that an employer's emergency action plan should include a lightning protocol.

Most workers who are injured on the job or who become ill because of something job-related are eligible for workers' compensation benefits although many may not realize that this is the case. An injured worker might want to speak to an attorney to ensure that the injuries are adequately documented and that the required claim is complete and filed on a timely basis. Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who are seeking benefits, but when this happens, the victims may also want to have legal assistance.

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