Construction workers, firefighters, factory workers, landscapers, bakers, HVAC workers, miners, and other employees who work outdoors or in extreme heat environments are at risk of severe heat-related injuries and illnesses. These include heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke. Workers who are 65 or older, have high blood pressure or heart disease, take certain prescription medications, or are overweight face even greater risks of injury due to extreme heat.
Also, in addition to injuries caused by the heat itself, people who work in hot temperatures face increased risks of other workplace accidents and injuries. This is because the heat may lead to sweaty hands, fogged safety glasses, dizziness, confusion, or even dehydration.
Heat-related workplace injuries are far more common—and serious—than most people realize. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), thousands of workers in the United States become ill and dozens die each year while working in extremely hot or humid conditions. The worst part? These illnesses and deaths are largely preventable.
In an effort to keep workers safe, OHSA recommends that employers:
- Establish a comprehensive heat illness prevention program
- Train workers to recognize and prevent heat-related illnesses
- Provide plenty of cool water for workers and allow them to take water breaks every 15 minutes
- Schedule the heaviest tasks during the cooler morning hours
- Have rest breaks in a shady or air-conditioned area
- Allow new or returning employees to gradually increase their workloads and take more frequent breaks as they acclimate to the heat
- Designate someone to monitor workers for signs of heat stress
- Have a plan for what to do in case of an emergency
Consult an Attorney About Your On-the-Job Heat Injury Case
If you suffered a serious heat-related illness in the workplace, you may be facing unexpected medical bills and time away from work. Fortunately, you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits like medical treatment and wage replacement payments.
At Van Sant Law, our skilled workers' compensation attorneys can review your case, and help you understand your rights and options. Please contact us online or call our office directly at 855.GA.INJURY or 404.991.5950 to schedule your free consultation.