Heat Stroke Death in Arkansas Raises Awareness

Heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses are underestimated as fatal conditions in the Summer.Heat stroke concerns were recently amplified as scorching June temperatures caused the death of a forklift operator employed by Symmetry Turf Installations. The worker was resurfacing the football practice field at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville. John Hermanson, OSHA’s regional administrator in Dallas,  expressed concern over Symmetry Turf’s negligence in regards to educating employees.  Hermanson stressed water, rest, and shade could have prevented this tragedy. In addition, Hermanson remarked Symmetry Turf has an obligation to inform employees on the symptoms of heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses.

Heat Stroke, Other Heat-Related Illnesses Can Be Prevented

According to their website, Symmetry Turf Installations provides sports field construction services for parks, recreation facilities, and sports fields specializing in artificial turf throughout North America. The company offers various turf related services such as field maintenance, assistance in field design including design and construction drawings. Symmetry Turf has completed projects at the following facilities: Baltimore Ravens Indoor Practice Field, University of North Texas Mean Green Machine Football Stadium, New York Jets football field, and Minnesota Vikings football field.

One serious violation involved failure to familiarize workers on the signs and symptoms of heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses. The second violation involved neglecting to inform workers on the proper precautions to follow regarding heat related illnesses. Proposed fines associated with the incident total $5,040. Symmetry Turf has 15 days to dispute the findings of the investigation.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers various resources focusing on heat illnesses. Additional information regarding heat stroke as well as training resources can be accessed at their Water-Rest-Shade Information page.  Materials are available in Spanish and English. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a variety of resources available to educate both employers and employees on the risks connected to heat illness so that tragedies like the Fayetteville incident will not occur.