The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that heat illness can be deadly. Studies show that every year thousands of workers become sick, or die, from exposure to heat, but these illnesses are preventable.
A 45 year old postal worker from Medford collapsed and died while making a delivery last week. James Baldassarre was found lying on the ground and later pronounced dead at Massachusetts General Hospital. His wife believes that the intense heat and humidity led to her husband’s death.
Temperatures on that day reached the 90s with high levels of humidity. When rescuers responded, Baldassarre was unconscious with a fever of 110 degrees.
Workers exposed to hot and humid conditions are at risk of heat illness, primarily those doing heavy tasks or wearing heavy protective clothing. Heat illness ranges from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke is the most dangerous; it requires immediate medical attention and can result in death.
Heat illness can be prevented by water, rest and shade. Employers should educate their employees on these tips, and include these steps in worksite training and plans. Employers should gradually increase workloads throughout the week and allow more frequent breaks to build tolerance to heat.
Pulgini & Norton, LLP attorneys have handled workers’ compensation claims for over 25 years in and around Boston and its surrounding areas. If you or a family member has been injured at work and would like to seek legal assistance, please contact us at (781) 843-2200 or (888) 344-2046 or email us.
Welcome to OSHA’s Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers, osha.gov, July 1, 2013
Medford postal carrier dies after collapsing during delivery, wcvb.com, July 8, 2013