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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
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    3

    Question Worker Rights and Safety vs. Patient Preferences

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: Ohio.

    What are the official/legal steps in determining when employee rights and safety outweigh patient dinning room temperature preferences?

    I'm a kitchen employee in an assisted living facility and part of my job is carrying the meal from the kitchen to the patient. My problem is: I'm sweating bullets and risking possible heat stroke serving food in an un-air-conditioned dinning room because if the air is on a tiny fraction of the patients being served are complaining "I'm cold." (Also, there is no AC in the sub-kitchens I serve out of because--I was told--it would cool off the food. But the thing is, they complain the food is cold any ways even though 1/2 the time my skin is melting off carrying it to them.) Meanwhile it's 80-90+ degrees Fahrenheit outside and my employer cares more about keeping the patients happy than their employees's health and safety.

    (And they wonder why there's a revolving door of employees leaving the company. )

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    23,965

    Default Re: Worker Rights and Safety vs. Patient Preferences

    I'm not being snarky or sarcastic or making light of your concerns. (I don't do well in excessive heat either.) I am asking a sincere question that will affect how I answer you further.

    How many employees, if any, have ACTUALLY suffered from heat stroke or other medical concerns due to the lack of a/c this summer so far?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    3,046

    Default Re: Worker Rights and Safety vs. Patient Preferences

    Quote Quoting DA330
    View Post
    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: Ohio.

    What are the official/legal steps in determining when employee rights and safety outweigh patient dinning room temperature preferences?

    I'm a kitchen employee in an assisted living facility and part of my job is carrying the meal from the kitchen to the patient. My problem is: I'm sweating bullets and risking possible heat stroke serving food in an un-air-conditioned dinning room because if the air is on a tiny fraction of the patients being served are complaining "I'm cold." (Also, there is no AC in the sub-kitchens I serve out of because--I was told--it would cool off the food. But the thing is, they complain the food is cold any ways even though 1/2 the time my skin is melting off carrying it to them.) Meanwhile it's 80-90+ degrees Fahrenheit outside and my employer cares more about keeping the patients happy than their employees's health and safety.

    (And they wonder why there's a revolving door of employees leaving the company. )
    80-90 is not too hot a workplace under any OSHA standard I've ever found.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Worker Rights and Safety vs. Patient Preferences

    Most of the kitchen staff complain about physical discomfort associated with heat exhaustion such as headaches, cramps, heavy sweating, and fatigue caused by the heat in the sub-kitchens. (Due to my asthma and the medications I take) I, personally, suffer on an almost daily basis of heat-induced dizziness/weakness and occasional nausea. At least two kitchen employees that I'm aware of have had to be sent home or to the hospital multiple times in the past year for passing out at work because of the heat.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,967

    Default Re: Worker Rights and Safety vs. Patient Preferences

    Quote Quoting DA330
    View Post
    (Due to my asthma and the medications I take) I, personally, suffer on an almost daily basis of heat-induced dizziness/weakness and occasional nausea.
    Common sense dictates that you shouldn't be in that line of work.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Worker Rights and Safety vs. Patient Preferences

    Sorry if it wasn't clearer, but: 80-90+℉ is the temperature OUTSIDE the building. (Please pay special attention to the + sign there, though I do apologize if it isn't formatted correctly.) Inside (due in part to the outside temp) it is much hotter. The steam table in the sub-kitchens which we serve the food out of is at least 140℉ and the poor ventilation combined with this ambient heat and the outside temperature makes the sub-kitchens virtual hot boxes in the summer.

    Also, according to my research OSHA recommends that employers keep the thermostat between 68-78℉. And yes, while I do recognize it says "recommends" and not "requires" I still think it is an important factor in employee wellness and job safety that the workplace environment maintain this temperature.

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    Common sense dictates that you shouldn't be in that line of work.
    Agreed, and I am currently in the process of looking for another job. Unfortunately, because I'm the main bread winner in my house and the job market in my neck of the woods has proved limited, I'm forced to remain in this position until I can find another job that is more accommodating. T_T

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    3,046

    Default Re: Worker Rights and Safety vs. Patient Preferences

    There are steps you should take to protect yourself from being overwhelmed by the heat. https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatstress/

    But there is no law against that temperature workplace. If there were we would have no steel mills left in the US.

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