Heat exposure is a common workplace hazard in California, but it is not just a problem for outdoor workers. Recently, an appeals board upheld citations given by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration against two employers for failing to protect indoor workers from workplace injuries related to heat hazards. The citations stemmed from an incident during which a worker was exposed to extremely high temperatures and was eventually hospitalized with heat stroke.
The individual who became ill was working inside a metal freight container. Temperatures inside the container exceeded 100 degrees, and the staffing agency that hired him arranged for him to be taken to a clinic. The two employers cited, the temp agency and the operator of the warehouse, appealed the expensive fines, but they were upheld. This means that going forward, California employers cannot ignore indoor heat hazards.
Employers must remain vigilant on workplace hazards and take whatever steps are necessary to protect workers from undue harm. In this case, the sick employee was was left with hospital bills and lost wages from missed work. When an individual is exposed to dangerous conditions at work, it is important to consider which options may be available for financial compensation.
Workers’ compensation is intended to financially support those who have suffered workplace injuries on the job. This also includes those who have become ill due to exposure to chemicals or hazardous work conditions. In many cases, claims can be delayed or denied, making it important for an injured worker to seek the help of a lawyer experienced in workers’ compensation claims.
Source: safety.blr.com, “Cal/OSHA indoor heat citations upheld“, Emily Clark, Nov. 12, 2015