Have you ever worked in a heated environment? If not, there’s an 80% chance that you might suffer a heat-related work injury or illness in the first four days of the job. Excessive exposure to sunlight, heat sources, humidity, and exercise can increase your body temperature, causing nausea, throbbing headaches, dizziness, pale skin, excessive sweating, muscle cramps, and loss of consciousness.
This brings us to the much-asked question, “Who is responsible for heat-related injuries at a workplace?” Whether working in the office, at the construction site, or selling products door to door, your employer is responsible for compensating you for all injuries and illnesses caused by heat. It is the employer’s responsibility to provide you with a safe, temperature-controlled environment. However, suppose you are suffering from a heat-related injury at work. In that case, reputed law firms, such as Edward M Bernstein & Associates, can help you with filing a worker’s compensation claim in order to cover the medical expenses, loss of income, mental anguish, and rehabilitation.
4 Common Illnesses Caused by Heat Exposure
Every year, thousands of overheated workers file for worker’s compensation claims. Employees who work outdoors are at a higher risk of suffering from heat-related illnesses. Here is a list of the common heat-related illnesses:
- Heat Exhaustion:This occurs when an individual is exposed to heat for prolonged periods. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include feeling thirsty, headache, moodiness, higher body temperature, and muscle fatigue.
- Heat Stroke: It can occur when a person’s body temperature increases above 104 degrees Celsius. Heat stroke is a life-threatening illness and can cause dry skin, lethargy, fatigue, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, and slurred speech.
- Heat Cramps or Muscle Spasms: This is one of the most painful heat-related injuries and can make it difficult for a person to even stand.
- Heat Rash: This is the irritation of the skin in the low-ventilation and high-sweat areas like your chest, neck, elbows, and knees. The rash will look like blisters or a small group of pimples.
Conditions in Which You Can Sue Employer for Heat-Related Injuries in a Workplace
Employers and employees can take several measures to prevent heat-related injuries, such as staying hydrated, cooling down under a shade, or taking a shower. However, it isn’t always possible. Listed below are two scenarios in which an employee has the right to sue the employer or company for a heat-related injury suffered at the workplace:
Employees without Climate Control
According to the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) guidelines, employers should take the necessary steps to reduce the risk of heat-related injuries in the office. This includes allowing the employees to take regular breaks in a cool environment, advising them to drink water every 30 minutes to one hour, and providing them with sun protection. If the employer fails to take these measures and the employee suffers a heat stroke or any other heat-related illness, they have the right to sue the employer and file a worker’s compensation claim.
Outdoor Events and Activities
When organizing an outdoor event or assigning an employee the duty to work under the scorching sun, the employee can sue the organization if they suffer any heat-related injury or illness. Thus, the employer should help the consumers and volunteers stay hydrated and cool during outdoor activities.
Ending Note – Your Employer Is Responsible
Although often overlooked, heat-related work injuries are severe and can even lead to death if not dealt with in time. No matter what the nature of your job is, your employer is required to provide you with a safe work environment that promotes a healthy and comfortable work culture and allows employees to take breaks, eat snacks, and stay hydrated during working hours. In case your employer doesn’t take preventative measures to reduce the heat stress, and you have suffered a heat-related work injury or illness, you should hire a lawyer to sue your employer and file for worker’s compensation.