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Moving company cited by OSHA after workers dies from heat illness

At the start of every summer, employers are urged to protect their workers from heat exposure. Heat illness can be fatal, and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration provides clear directives of steps that employers must take to prevent workers from being affected by heat in their places of work. California companies may be unaware that heat can affect not only outside workers but also those who are exposed to high temperatures in enclosed areas.

An example of such an incident is the case of a June fatality in another state. OSHA reported that the deceased worker was employed by a moving company. The 49-year-old employee was in the back of a moving truck in which he was loading and packing boxes. The temperature reportedly rose to a heat index level of 112 degrees.

This exposure caused the worker to suffer a heat stroke. He was transported to a hospital but succumbed to the illness before the end of the day. OSHA issued the company with a citation for its failure to protect the worker from excessive heat and also for its failure to report the worker's death within the required eight-hour time limit.

Although there are personal precautions that California workers can take to protect themselves, employers remain responsible for worker safety. Anyone who has been a victim of a workplace accident or illness, including the surviving family of a deceased worker, is entitled to pursue compensation for related medical expenses and end-of-life expenses where applicable. Such an illness could keep a worker away from the job for an extended period, causing a loss of income. Fortunately, workers' compensation benefits also cover a percentage of lost income to assist incapacitated workers and dependents of deceased workers with covering living expenses during that time.

Source: scrippsmedia.com, "OSHA cites moving company for heat-related death", Tom Lesyna., Aug. 25, 2015

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