No matter the time of year, when business owners think about the common risks involved with owning a business, the safety of their employees should always be top of mind. However, the summertime can bring unique hazards, with its soaring temperatures, busy travel times and potential for strong storms.
In the summer, it’s important that employers take steps to ensure their workers are staying as safe as possible from these specific types of risks.
Here are a few of the common workers’ comp claims filed in the summer months, and what small businesses can do to help reduce the risk of accidents, injuries and illnesses, and improve employee health and safety:
Outdoor workers and those who work in non-air conditioned spaces are often at risk for a variety of heat-related illnesses, like heat stress and heat exhaustion. The most severe form of heat-related illness is heat stroke, which is a life-threatening emergency. It’s vital that employers provide proper training to employees and supervisors to ensure they understand the dangers of heat-related illnesses and how it can impact their overall health and safety.
Additionally, a few things employers can do to reduce the amount of heat-related workers’ comp claims include:
Summer not only means a break from the books for teens and college students across the country, but it also represents an opportunity to save some money by picking up a full or part-time job. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), employees less than 18 years old experience an estimated 160,000 work-related injuries and illnesses every summer, with the majority of these injuries occurring within the restaurant industry. These young or new, seasonal workers generally have less experience and training when they enter the workforce and may not understand some of the basic safety procedures designed to prevent injuries on the job.
To reduce workers’ compensation claims in young or seasonal workers over the summer, employers should require all new hires to participate in safety training programs, understand their right to work in a safe environment and ensure these workers are consistently supervised. They should also learn what to do in the event of an emergency and how to report any injuries or near-miss accidents.
Summer is a busy travel season for both business and pleasure. Employees required to travel abroad need to be aware of any potential risks this travel involves, and how they can best protect themselves. These risks include:
Mother Nature can wreak havoc on commercial property, with heavy rains and high winds from storms destroying the exterior of a building, like roofs, signage, gutters and more.
And, 2018 was one of the most destructive wildfire seasons to date, with thousands of commercial structures destroyed in the state of California alone.
These acts of nature and the cleanup process involved can also be hazardous to employees and can result in workers’ compensation claims. Therefore, a few of the steps employers should take to prepare for any nature-related incidents include: