The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Evoqua Water Technologies LLC – based in Thomasville, Georgia – for failing to protect employees working in excessive heat. The company faces $21,311 in penalties, including the maximum penalty allowed by law for the heat-related violation.
An employee suffered heat exhaustion and was hospitalized after working in direct sunlight and wearing required protective clothing during welding and fabrication work at a Key West, Florida, worksite. On the day of the hospitalization, the heat index ranged between 83 and 88 degrees. OSHA cited the employer for failing to protect workers exposed to outdoor heat hazards, and failing to report a hospitalization within 24 hours, as required.
“Employers must take proper precautions when employees are working outdoors in excessive heat conditions, including ensuring that workers have access to water, and take frequent rest breaks in cool shaded areas,” said OSHA Area Director Condell Eastmond, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
OSHA conducts training and outreach on heat-related workplace hazards every spring and summer. Information on establishing a heat illness prevention program, a video on protecting workers from heat illness, and resources with other suggested best practices are available on OSHA’s heat illness prevention page.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance.
This is a press release from OSHA.