Many California workers have occupations that require them to spend the majority of their time working outdoors. The California sun can increase the risk of heat-related illnesses and injuries year round. Long exposure to these conditions can cause heat stress, which can lead to exhaustion, heat stroke, and other heat-related complaints.
Workers in California who spend time working outdoors are protected under the Cal/OSHA heat illness prevention regulations. Employers who employ outdoor workers in California must provide outdoor workers with water, shade, and rest. Employers in California must provide outdoor workers with enough fresh water so that each employee can drink one quart (32 ounces) of water each hour, and encourage them to do so. Employers must also provide access to a shaded area so that outdoor workers may be allowed to cool down. Finally, employers must allow and encourage employees to cool down and rest in the shade for a period of no less than five minutes whenever they feel that they may be at risk for heat stress.
Of particular importance to outdoor workers in California are the heat-related illnesses of heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
Heat exhaustion occurs when an individual, usually engaged in strenuous physical activity, is exposed to high temperatures in high humidity. Without immediate treatment, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, a life-threatening illness.
Heatstroke is a very serious heat-related illness. It takes place when the body is unable to control its internal temperature when exposed to excessively high temperatures. Heat stroke can be fatal and cause permanent impairment if not treated immediately. Heat stroke can be fought by making sure that outdoor workers get adequate amounts of rest when they start to feel the effects of overheating and drink regular amounts of water.
Proving a Heat-Related Injury
Employers often try to combat a workers’ compensation claim for a heat-related illness by arguing that an underlying or pre-existing condition, and not their job conditions, was the root cause of the illness. However, injured workers are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits so long as any illness or injury was triggered or aggravated as a result of their work conditions.
Workers' Compensation Lawyers in San Diego
Due to the complicated nature of heat-related illnesses, it is important to seek the help of a team of experienced workers’ compensation attorneys to maximize the probability that you will collect workers’ compensation benefits. At the Law Office of Gerald Brody & Associates, our workers’ compensation attorneys have more than 45 years of collective experience helping injured workers collect maximum benefits for their injuries. If you have contracted a heat-related illness on the job and looking for an experienced team of workers’ compensation attorneys to handle your claim, give us a call to schedule a free consultation. Call (619) 345-5317.