Several cities in Georgia saw record-setting high temperatures for May over Memorial Day Weekend, according to reports by The Weather Channel. For those who work outside, such high temperatures represent a serious risk of workplace illness. Employers in construction, agriculture, and other fields where workers spend a large portion of their day outside have a responsibility to provide workers with the resources they need to avoid heat-related illness.
Here is what workers need to know about spotting the symptoms of heat exposure, and how they may qualify for workers’ compensation:
Spotting heat-related illness
Heat illness comes in a variety of forms, the most serious of which is heat stroke. If not treated quickly, heat stroke can result in death. Symptoms include:
- Slurred speech
- Hot, dry skin
- Extreme sweating
- Dizziness or loss of consciousness
Symptoms of other heat-related illnesses include muscle cramps, headaches, and weakness.
Workers’ compensation for occupational heat exposure
Generally, workers can make a claim for workers’ compensation benefits for any injury or illness stemming from their job. OSHA began a campaign in recent years to make employers more aware of the risks of heat stroke and what they can do to protect employees, including:
- Ensure employees have adequate rest, shade and water
- Monitoring workers for signs of heat exhaustion or illness
- Giving new employees more frequent breaks
If your work caused or aggravated heat stroke or another heat-related illness, you could be entitled to compensation. However, employers sometimes try to attribute heat-related illness to preexisting factors. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help workers advocate for their rights and achieve the compensation they deserve.