While summer brings beautiful weather and vacations for many California families, it could signal a serious threat to the health and safety of many workers. Due to the large agricultural and construction industries in the state, there are a significant amount of workers who must be outside, continually exposed to the sun. These men and women face an increased risk of on-the-job injury and heat-related illnesses when the temperatures rise.
The two most common factors in heat-related illnesses are physical exertion and dehydration. To combat these factors, employers are required to provide shaded areas in which to rest from the sun and cool water at no charge to employees. When workers do show signs of illness, they have the right to medical treatment.
The three things that directly impact the likelihood of heat-related illnesses are sun exposure, humidity and heat. These three factors can cause serious harm either alone or in combination, possibly resulting in heat stroke, dehydration, headaches, dizziness and more. Heat-related illnesses not only cause a worker to feel ill, they can trigger other underlying illnesses and compromise a person’s ability to work.
Employees have the right to know their lawful entitlements regarding heat exposure under California law. When a job condition does cause injury or illness, it may be appropriate to seek benefits by filing a workers’ compensation claim. This can be a frustrating process, but it is easier for a person dealing with an on-the-job injury or illness to navigate it with the help of an experienced attorney.
Source: ohsonline.com, “Understanding the Ramifications of Heat in Work Environments“, Iris Floyd, June 1, 2016