Workers in New Jersey may face increasingly difficult and dangerous conditions on the job as the summer deepens. Heat stress can be the cause of multiple injuries and illnesses caused by an excessively hot workplace. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration recognizes the threat caused by heat; while there are no formal regulations governing heat stress and heat exposure on the job, the agency has conducted an extensive awareness campaign promoting employer use of preventive technologies to help avoid the dangers posed by heat.
Excessively hot workplaces can be the cause of a number of threats to workplace safety. For example, many studies indicate that the ambient temperature changes the body’s ability to absorb chemicals. Therefore, workers dealing with toxic chemicals may have a higher level of toxic exposure in a shorter amount of time due to changes caused by the heat. This has the potential to lead to occupational disease and other serious side effects.
In addition, there are dangers directly related to excessive heat on the job. Heat stroke, heat exhaustion, syncope, rashes and cramps can all be caused by excessive heat exposure in the workplace. In addition, too much heat can take workers’ lives; in 2017 alone, 24 workers were killed as a result of the heat in their workplaces. In addition, a range of injuries is related to hot conditions. Metal, water and other substances can become hot enough to burn in the summer sun, causing serious damage.
Heat exposure on the job can have severe, lasting effects when that exposure is excessive or long-term. A worker who has been hurt due to an overly hot workplace may want to consult with a workers compensation attorney. A lawyer may be able to help injured workers protect their rights and seek the compensation to which they are entitled.