High Temperatures Increase Risk For Workers
During the past few weeks, the United States and most of the rest of the world has been experiencing a significant heat wave, which is predicted to continue by the National Weather Service. Higher-than-average temperatures and humidity means increased risk for workers whose jobs primarily place them outside, or in locations which are poorly ventilated. While most employees may have limited options in terms of mitigating that risk on the fly, it is crucial that you be aware of your options if something happens to you.
The most recent available data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 43 workers died of heat-related conditions that year, which may not seem like much. However, two factors must be kept in mind – first, that some or even most of these deaths may have been preventable; and second, that the total number may be underreported. It is sadly not uncommon for workplace heat-related deaths to be misclassified – for example, as neurological issues or cardiovascular problems. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), nearly 350 workers have died of heat-related conditions in the last decade.
There is very little data regarding any correlation between weather patterns and an increase or decrease in workers’ compensation claims – the most recent, a 2019 study out of Australia, showed that workers’ compensation claims actually slowed in cold temperatures, while ‘moderate to extreme’ temperatures resulted in an increase – however, no major studies out of the United States have been cited as of this writing. Still, the conclusions point to the fact no one can deny – that heat-related conditions are serious and often require immediate care.
An employer has an obligation to keep a safe workplace, under both Connecticut law and federal regulations under OSHA. If you feel as though you are being placed in an unsafe environment, you have the right to speak up – and if you are injured or become ill due to working in the heat, you may be able to obtain compensation as long as you can establish that your illness occurred because of your heat exposure on the job. This can sometimes be difficult, particularly if you have any preexisting conditions, but it is still generally worth your time to try to seek benefits.
Contact A Stratford, CT Workers’ Compensation Attorney
While it is incumbent on employees to take reasonable precautions in the heat wave, employers must also provide them the tools and the time to do so. If you have been a victim of heat stroke or another heat-related condition at work, you have the right to try to claim workers’ compensation benefits so that you can focus on recovery. A Stratford workers’ compensation attorney from the Morizio Law Firm can help to manage any questions or concerns you may have about the process, and help you decide how to handle your situation. Contact us today at 475-338-3505 for a free consultation.