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Workers' compensation for heat-related illnesses

As New Jersey readers know, the summer months usher in higher temperatures that affect every individual who works outside. As temperatures climb, employers should be making every effort to ensure that workers are as safe as possible while outside in the heat and sunlight. When a person does suffer from a heat-related illness at work, it is grounds for a workers' compensation benefits claim.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released heat safety guidelines for employers who supervise outdoor workers. Workers who must be especially careful working in high temperatures include construction workers, utility workers, agricultural workers and many others. OSHA also emphasizes the importance of recognizing the signs of heat-related illnesses. 

A worker should note that the signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion are marked by certain symptoms, including nausea, dizziness, lack of sweat and confusion. If a person experiences these symptoms, he or she must have medical attention as soon as possible, be moved to a shaded area and be given the opportunity to cool down. Failure to react properly to these symptoms could have detrimental, if not fatal, consequences.

When a New Jersey worker is not used to the heat or must spend many hours outdoors for work, it could result in certain ailments that may compromise a person's ability to work. When medical treatment is sought, work is missed or other expenses accumulate as a result of a work-related illness, workers' compensation benefits may be granted to compensate for these losses. A worker may seek a case evaluation with an experienced lawyer to better understand what options are available.

Source: Livingston, NJ Patch, "Working Outdoors In Hot Weather Can Be Deadly: OSHA Gives Safety Tips", Eric Kiefer, July 10, 2016

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