Many employees don’t consider the impact of summer heat in the workplace, but overheating can lead to serious illnesses, injuries, and even death.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, environmental heat exposure led to 2,830 nonfatal occupational injuries that caused employees to miss work during 2015. Hot Texas summers require employers to take steps to protect workers from heatstroke.
People who work outside, such as construction employees, are particularly vulnerable to overheating and dehydration. However, indoor workspaces may also risk employee health when cooling systems aren't properly maintained.
Overheating can lead to heatstroke, effectively shutting down the body’s ability to regulate temperature. Without treatment, loss of consciousness, permanent brain injury, nervous system damage, and death may occur.
Typical symptoms of heatstroke include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Inability to sweat
Employers can protect workers from heatstroke by following guidelines issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. These precautions include:
- Educating employees. Workers should be warned about the dangers of heatstroke, and trained in the prevention of these injuries.
- Acclimating workers to the heat. The initial workload should be light, then increase gradually as workers adjust to a hot work environment.
- Providing cool water. Employees working in extreme heat should drink water every 15 minutes, and consume a minimum of one pint per hour.
- Providing a cool rest area. Workers need a space that provides temporary refuge from the heat.
- Monitoring employee health. Supervisors should routinely check on their workers to ensure that they're okay.
If you’ve suffered from heatstroke at on the job, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for the injuries you’ve sustained. Unfortunately, employers frequently argue that heatstroke injuries are caused by preexisting conditions, and therefore aren't work-related.
You need an attorney to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. To learn more, contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., by clicking the Live Chat button on this page.
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