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What measures can companies implement to protect their workers from the heat wave?

What measures can companies implement to protect their workers from the heat wave?

Attention! Our country is in a state of alert due to the intense heat wave this summer 2024. According to the National Service of Meteorology and Hydrology of Peru (Senamhi), our capital has been registering a greater thermal sensation and will reach values ​​of up to 38 °C that They will be received until Thursday, February 22 in some districts of Lima Norte and Lima Este.

Without a doubt, workers who carry out their activities under the sun are the most affected and even those who work in closed environments are exposed to various situations that can harm their health and performance. To explain the labor measures that companies can apply in the face of this heat stroke, La República spoke with Jaime Zegarra, a labor lawyer associated with the Dentons firm.

What are the measures to protect workers from the heat wave?

For labor lawyer Jaime Zegarra, it is essential that the safety and health measures at work to be implemented to counteract the impacts of the heat wave in our country are carried out based on the identification of the risks of each activity and position. labor. As a result of this evaluation, the employer is legally obliged to take preventive measures, which may be the following:

  • Establish ventilation systems and maintain environments with fresh air flows.
  • Schedule certain work breaks, so that the employee does not stay in the same place during his entire schedule.
  • Provide personal protective equipment to workers, which must have insulating characteristics that make perspiration difficult and increase heat loss in the body.
  • Employers must provide fluids to adequately hydrate and maintain normal body temperature.
  • Carry out training for workers with the aim of identifying the risks, symptoms of heat stroke and all protection and prevention measures.

Heat wave in Peru: is it legal to leave your job?

If a worker identifies a risk situation that affects their health due to the high temperatures in our country, the first thing they have to do is inform the employer of this situation, who must confirm if the heat wave endangers the execution of their work. labors. If this fact is confirmed, “it is mandatory for the employer to modify the job to avoid this exposure,” indicates lawyer Jaime Zegarra.

“It is not necessary for the worker to decide of his own motion to leave his job. First, you have to inform the employer, who is obliged to implement the corresponding preventive measures. If they do not take them, the worker has the possibility of requesting from Sunafil that the act of hostility cease and that measures be established to protect their health. under warning of legal infractions such as fines or the payment of compensation in cases of arbitrary dismissal,” he said.

Within the labor regulations, the worker does not have the power to leave on his own initiative without this being considered a fault. However, according to Zegarra, he could resort to filing a complaint with the National Superintendence of Labor Supervision (Sunafil) so that said entity can verify his working conditions and request the respective documentation in order to verify the existence of a non-compliance.

What are the Minsa’s recommendations in work centers due to heat waves?

In order to reduce the risks of health damage due to the heat stroke that plagues our country, the Ministry of Health establishes the following recommendations for the health and safety services of workplaces and workers:

  • It is important to carry out periodic training for workers, which should include the identification of hazards, as well as the signs and symptoms of heat stroke, and the corresponding prevention and protection measures.
  • Provide workers with personal protective equipment.
  • It is recommended that workers wear loose, light clothing, preferably made of cotton and light in color; Clothing that is tight to the body should be avoided.
  • It is important to encourage the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as avoid the consumption of sugary drinks, alcohol, caffeine and large meals.
  • Fluid consumption should be promoted to maintain normal body temperature.
  • It is essential to keep work environments cool and ventilated.
  • It is necessary to use protection against sunburn, especially for workers exposed to the outdoors, with wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses with UV 400 protection, and use sunscreen greater than 30 SPF, at least 30 minutes before expose yourself to the sun, with application every two hours or more frequently if physical activity and sweating is greater (indicated by the occupational doctor).
  • It is important to quickly evaluate a worker with suspected heat stroke, with the goal of diagnosing it early and providing effective treatment to minimize complications. Such evaluation should include measurement of temperature, breathing, circulation, and neurological status. The mainstays of treatment are rapid cooling and multiorgan life support measures.
  • If a worker is identified as experiencing heat stroke, they should be placed in a cool, dark place, remove unnecessary clothing, apply cold water compresses to help reduce their body temperature, and transport them to the nearest health facility.

Source: Larepublica

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