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Some businesses endanger outdoor workers by denying water breaks

On Behalf of | Jul 13, 2023 | WC - Injuries And Illnesses |

There are many professionals in Minnesota who take pride in having a physically-demanding job that requires that they spend a good portion of their time outside. Construction workers, road repair crews and countless other blue-collar professionals may spend a significant amount of time outside, especially during the summer months.

The warmest season in Minnesota results in a surge in average temperatures and humidity levels, both of which can endanger outdoor employees. Unfortunately, some employers increase the risk of heat-related harm by not providing workers with time for water breaks and/or water stations while employees are operating under challenging weather-related conditions.

Workers shouldn’t have to risk their health for a paycheck

The sad truth is that some companies avoid providing crucial support for their workers because of the expense involved. Encouraging workers to take breaks frequently to drink water and to cool down means that they will have a few minutes each hour that are less productive. Although that time helps to ensure that workers can continue working more safely for the rest of their shift, many employers are loathe to encourage the very actions that help workers handle extreme heat and humidity effectively.

State law does not currently impose any specific standards for summertime outdoor work. However, there are still common-sense rules, as well as standards imposed in other states, to guide how companies should treat their workers. With that said, when employees are not familiar with their rights, they may have a harder time standing up for themselves.

Unfortunately, failures on the part of their employers may mean that workers experience some kind of heat or dehydration-related incident on the job. Heat stroke could lead to someone’s hospitalization and to lingering symptoms that keep them from working for days, if not longer. Someone’s response to heat, humidity or dehydration could also result in secondary injuries. It is, therefore, important to understand that workers who experience heat-related medical issues may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.

Learning more about the broader rules that exist to protect workers from dangerous job conditions may benefit those who work outdoors in the summer. Workers who have questions about their rights can seek confidential legal guidance at any time.


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