Workers Comp for Heat Exposure Illness or Death
Summer brings thoughts of days spent at local beaches or lounging at the park or in swimming pools. Not so for those whose jobs keep them outside in record-breaking heat-waves. Mail carriers, delivery workers, those in the construction industry, people who guide airplanes or load luggage on airport tarmacs, landscapers, gardeners and farm workers all have something in common – they are at high risk of falling ill due to laboring in hot and humid weather conditions.
Cantrell Green, a Long Beach law firm specializing in workers comp, is familiar with the effect of extreme heat on an employee whose job requires him or her to work outside. Heat stroke, heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses may cause the employee to feel ill for days, and in some cases, the damage to the body can last well beyond that time period. Heat related injuries must be taken seriously and require immediate treatment.
Heat Exposure Poses Significant Risk to Employees
A study compiled in 2015 stated that California, Texas and Georgia lead the rest of the states in non-fatal heat-related illnesses. In the last decade alone, tens of thousands of workers became so ill that they missed a day or more of work.
In some cases, heat-related injuries to employees can be fatal. In fact, in the past ten years alone, more than 350 employees actually died from heat-related illnesses, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. OSHA’s records show similar statistics.
Laws Protecting Workers from Heat Exposure
In recent years, union representatives have requested that the federal government establish nationwide protocols for employers to follow that would make sure employees are protected from working under unsafe heat-related conditions. In July, U.S. Reps. Judy Chu (D-Calif) and Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) introduced legislation directing OSHA to institute workplace standards that address extreme temperatures. The UFW (United Farm Workers) backed the legislation, urging Congress to pass laws that would require employers to ensure their workers are given protection from extreme heat. California pioneered such legislation over a decade ago after several farm workers died during a heatwave. Washington and Minnesota have enacted similar laws. But in forty-seven states, no such laws are in place.
Workers Comp for Heat Exposure Injury or Death
With the onset of climate change, the situation is only going to get worse. The impact of elevated temperatures on workers is something all employers must address in the future.
Laws protecting employees from all safety hazards includes hazards related to weather and extreme temperatures. OSHA and NIOSH both place the burden of enacting such protections on the employers. Current standards mandate that sufficient water, shade and rest must be provided to employees when temperatures rise to unsafe levels.
The good news is, workers comp is available to employees who have suffered from heat-related illnesses at work. Compensation is available for any necessary medical treatment and for any time lost at work as a result. Employers may balk at acceding to the claim, and may suggest that the illness was as a result of a pre-existing condition.
Heat Exposure Long Beach Workers Comp Attorneys
Filing a claim for heat-related illness is not something you will want to do on your own. An experienced and skillful attorney will be invaluable to ensure you receive the full benefits to which you are entitled.
Our Long Beach attorneys at Cantrell Green have just the sort of experience you are looking for. They can help you obtain medical records that will help build a solid case, and prove that your heat-related illness was directly related to your job responsibilities.
Your consultation with our workers’ comp lawyers is 100% confidential, and neither your employer nor your insurance company will be notified that you requested a consultation with us. Our lawyers will help you understand your rights and work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the maximum workers’ comp benefits for which you qualify.