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Protecting outdoor workers from extreme weather

When it comes to the vagrancies of extreme weather, outdoor workers may be especially at risk for serious illness, injury or even death. As a reminder of the perils that serious weather may present, the U.S. Labor Department published a story on Dec. 1 that outlined two situations in which severe weather had grievous impact. Although both cases originated in northeastern states, workers and employees in Louisiana and throughout the nation may want to remain aware that deadly weather-related incidents could happen anywhere.

Weather-related risks might also impact those who are employed in a wide array of industries, including emergency response, construction, transportation, fishing and agriculture. As the climate changes and the frequency of severe-weather events increases, The DOL reminds employers of their responsibility to provide safe working conditions for their employees regardless of the precise nature of the work that each is required to perform.

Following the two fatal weather-related events in New England, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited each of the related employers for failing to address recognizable hazards in accordance with the general duty clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Both cases were ultimately settled. In one, the employer had failed to monitor and then appropriately respond to forecasts of threatening weather, and in the other, the employer had not made training available to employees that might help them recognize and prevent heat-related illness.

Workers in Louisiana who are injured as the result of exposure to severe-weather events while they are outdoors on the job may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. A lawyer who has experience with these matters could help a client navigate the claims process, see that the client's rights are protected every step of the way and provide representation at an appeals hearing in the event that the claim is initially denied.

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