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Obtaining Workers’ Compensation for Heat-Related Injuries

Extreme heat conditions can result in a few different heat-related injuries. Workers exposed to heat may be able to file workers’ compensation claims for relief.

Types of Heat-Related Injuries

Construction workers and other outdoor employees may be susceptible to heat-related injuries. Some common heat-related injuries include:

Heatstroke – Heatstroke occurs when someone’s body temperature rises too quickly (usually above 104 degrees). Some of the symptoms are fatigue, lethargy, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, confusion, increased heart rate, and dry skin. If left untreated, the person could go into shock (seizure or coma), resulting in death.

Heat Rash – Heat rash is another condition that occurs after excessive sweating in high temperatures.

Heat Exhaustion – Another severe condition is heat exhaustion that occurs when someone is exposed to prolonged heat, and their body loses water and salt, leading to dehydration. The symptoms of heat exhaustion are elevated temperature, rapid breathing, sweating, headache, fatigue, muscle cramps, slow or fast pulse, and cramps.

When someone suffers heatstroke or heat exhaustion, they may become confused, disoriented, or uncoordinated, which can lead to other very serious injuries such as falling off a roof or scaffolding.

How to Avoid Heat-Related Injuries

It’s both the employers’ and the employee’s responsibility to avoid heat-related injuries. Some things you can do to prevent it are:

  • Drink plenty of fluids during the workday.
  • Take regular breaks to cool down.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing.
  • Use protective gear (like hats to cover your head and sunglasses to protect your eyes) and sunblock to prevent burning.
  • Acclimate yourself to the heat slowly.
  • Find shade away from the sun.
  • Educate yourself on the symptoms and watch for signs of heat stroke or other serious heat-related injuries. Take action before things get bad.

Your employer should supply not only adequate protective gear and sufficient water but also regular break periods to recover from any heat-related injuries.

Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim

If you suffer a heat-related injury at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation for medical treatment, lost wages, and other related expenses. Keep good records of everything; you may have to prove your injury was due to the work environment and extreme heat and not a pre-existing condition.

If you need help filing a workers’ compensation claim or fighting a claim denial, contact your workers’ compensation attorney. They will assist you with getting the benefits you deserve.

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