Workers’ Compensation for Heat-Related Injuries Sustained While Working Outside
For most workplace injuries, you are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits including being injured if you work outside in the heat. Parts of Florida experience brutal heat, especially during the summer months. Working outside during periods of extreme heat can be dangerous especially in areas with high humidity. Extended periods of exposure to the heat can result in heat-related injuries including:
- Heat rash – Skin irritation caused by excessive sweating.
- Heat exhaustion – This often precedes a heatstroke. Symptoms include rapid breathing, fast pulse, weak pulse, and heavy sweating.
- Heat cramps – Muscle spasms or muscle pains.
- Heatstroke – Heatstroke occurs when the body temperature rises above 106 degrees in a matter of minutes. Heatstroke can be life-threatening.
Employers should take steps to protect workers from heat exposure including providing clean, drinking water, allowing for breaks, providing shade during breaks. Even with the best procedures in place, heat-related injuries can still occur. If you suffer a heat-related injury at work, you have 30 days to report the injury to your employer. Failure to report a timely claim will result in a denial of your workers’ compensation benefits.
If you believe you are suffering from heat-related injuries at work, seek immediate medical attention. After being treated, report the incident to your employer as soon as possible. If you have questions, contact a workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your claim.
Tips to Avoid Heat-Related Injuries
- Drink Fluids – Dehydration can be very serious and it could require immediate medical attention. When working outside, drink plenty of fluids and seek medical help if you experience any of the symptoms of dehydration — headache, dizziness, thirst, rapid heartbeat, sunken eyes, etc. Drink small amounts of water frequently.
- Wear the Proper Clothing – When possible, wear loose-fitting clothing with long sleeves and long pants to protect your skin from the sun. The fabric should be as thin as allowable while still protecting your skin from the sun and from hazards from your job.
- Use Sunscreen and Wear a Hat – Always put on sunscreen and wear a hat to protect your forehead, nose, ears, eyes, neck, and scalp.
- Wear Protective Eyewear – Wear a part of UV-absorbent sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UVB and UVA radiation. In most cases, wear safety glasses with UV protection.
- Take Breaks – Take frequent, short breaks in the shade.
- Avoid Certain Foods – Avoid consuming caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar.
- Educate Yourself – Know the symptoms of a heat stroke and heat exhaustion and seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the symptoms.
Have You Been Injured on the Job in Florida?
If so, you need an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who understands Florida’s workers’ compensation laws. Even though you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits by law, it is not always easy to file a claim. Your employer and/or its insurer may deny your claim or treat you unfairly.
The workers’ compensation lawyers of Broderick Law Firm, P.L. have the experience, knowledge, and skill you need to protect your right to receive compensation for your workplace injury. Contact our office today to schedule your free consultation.