When we think about heat stroke on the job in Florida, we tend to think about employees who work outside. We know that construction workers, farmers, and other people who work outside during long, hot days are susceptible to heat stroke. However, employees who work indoors are also in danger of heat stroke. In some cases, the temperature indoors can be higher than the temperature outside. In buildings without proper ventilation, air circulation, or air conditioning, the risk of a heat stroke can increase dramatically. Indoor employees must be cautious and take steps to prevent heat-related illnesses on the job. According to OSHA, workers and employers should be aware of the following risk levels:
- Less than 91 degrees Fahrenheit — Lower risk level that requires basic planning and heat safety measures.
- Between 91 degrees Fahrenheit and 103 degrees Fahrenheit — Moderate risk level that requires the implementation of precautions to heighten
- Between 103 degrees Fahrenheit and 115 degrees Fahrenheit — High-risk level that requires additional steps to protect workers.
- Over 115 degrees Fahrenheit — Very high to extreme risk level that requires immediate aggressive protective measures.
Why is Heat a Hazard to Workers?
Your body must regulate itself to maintain a safe internal temperature through sweating and circulating blood. When you work in a hot environment, it can become more difficult for your body to regulate core temperature. Contact with hot objects, direct sun exposure, physical exertion, protective clothing, and limited air movement increase the risk. If your body cannot get rid of the extra heat, it will begin to store the heat. Your core temperature increases and you begin to show the signs of a heat-related illness. If you do not seek treatment or take steps to stop the process, you could suffer permanent injury or death. You must act quickly and seek immediate medical attention if you show any signs of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, or any other heat-related illness.
Signs of Heat-Related Illnesses
Every employer and employee should be aware of and be able to recognize the signs of a heat-related illness. In some cases, providing timely care for a heat stroke or other heat-related injury can mean the difference between survival and death. According to WebMD, the common signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke include:
- Vomiting and nausea
- Excessive thirst
- Dizziness or fainting
- Slowed or rapid heart rate
- Drenching sweats
- Decreased urination
- Shortness of breath
- Hot, flushed, or dry skin
- Increased body temperature
A full list of the symptoms is on the WebMD website. You can also get more information about heat-related workplace injuries from OSHA. Its “Water.Rest.Shade.” campaign is aimed at educating workers and employers to prevent injuries and deaths from on-the-job heat-related injuries and illnesses.
Workers’ Compensation Covers Work-Related Heat Stroke
If you are injured at work because of a heat-related illness, you should be entitled to receive workers comp benefits. However, the employer or insurance provider may try to deny your claim. If you have been denied benefits, The Broderick Law Firm, P.L. can help you obtain the benefits you deserve. Contact our office today 1-800-333-3903 to speak with an attorney. We represent individuals in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale & Miami, FL.