Many employees, from construction workers to bakers and from factory workers to welders, are exposed to hot, humid environments as part of their job duties. When employees have to work in these environments for long periods of time, heat stress and heat-related illnesses can occur. If certain safety precautions are not taken, heat injuries can cause dangerous illnesses and even death. If you’ve been injured as a result of heat-related injuries, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation.
Contact a qualified workers’ comp attorney to learn more about your options.
Common Workplace Heat Injuries
Heat Stroke is one of the most serious heat-related illnesses. Caused by working in hot conditions, it can lead to convulsions, confusion, angry behavior, permanent brain damage, or even death,
Heat Exhaustion occurs when your body loses too much fluid through sweating. It can lead to extreme weakness, nausea, and headache.
Heat Cramps can occur if your body has an electrolyte imbalance, causing painful muscle spasms. Workers who perform demanding physical labor or drink too little water can experience heat cramps.
Heat Rash happens when sweat cannot evaporate off of your skin, leading to red bumps on the skin. It is a very common problem in workers who wear inappropriate clothing in humid environments.
Fainting/collapse occurs when your brain is not receiving enough oxygen. This usually happens when your body is not acclimatized to hot conditions. Fainting is not usually serious, but the risk of hitting your head or fainting while operating heavy machinery or while at an elevated height, can be dangerous or fatal.
Symptoms of Heat Injuries
If you experience any of the following symptoms while working in heat, you may be developing a heat illness:
- Profuse sweating
- Slurred speech
- Dry skin
- High body temperature
- Shallow breathing
How To Prevent Heat Illness
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recommends that workers become acclimatized to their workload in hot, humid conditions to build up their heat tolerance over time. It’s important to gradually ease yourself into working in hot conditions. OSHA also recommends the following safety measures:
- Drink water every 15 minutes even if you don’t feel thirsty
- Rest in the shade or air-conditioning periodically
- Wear a hat or light-colored clothing
- Know how to spot symptoms of heat illness
Contact a Massachusetts Workers’ Comp Attorney
You may not think heat-related injuries are covered by workers’ compensation. However, you may have a claim if you suffered a serious heat injury while you were on-the-job. Proving that your heat illness is work-related can be a tricky process, especially with insurance companies fighting to prove you wrong. Luckily, our workers’ comp lawyers at Powers & Caccavale are experienced in dealing with insurance companies and know how to get you the best possible outcome. Fill out our free case evaluation or call us at (617) 379-0016 to learn more.