Many employees in North Carolina and around the country work outside where they are vulnerable to the weather. Some are required to work when there are warnings of severe weather in the area. One example occurred in 2015, when an employer decided to hold a scheduled outdoor circus performance when severe weather was in the area. When a thunderstorm hit, one of the tents collapsed, killing two and injuring dozens of others, including employees.
Following many tragedies caused by severe weather, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to companies that failed to alert their employees to weather-related hazards that could cause serious harm, injury or even death. Following the case of the collapsed circus tent, for example, OSHA stated that the employer failed to properly monitor the weather forecasts, which clearly warned of severe storms and winds just hours before the show was scheduled to start.
Employers are required to properly train their employees who are facing these types of conditions. For examples, employees who must work in hot, humid weather should be able to identify the signs of heat exhaustion and learn what to do to keep themselves safe.
An employee who is required to work during a severe weather incident and becomes injured as a result may be eligible to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits that can include partial wage replacement in some cases as well as the payment of medical expenses. An attorney can often help to ensure that the claim contains all necessary information and that it is filed within the statutory time period.