One Hot Mess: Work-Related Heat Injuries And Workers' CompensationShare
People that work outdoors are expected to take precautions to keep themselves protected from the ravages of heat. In many cases, employers take responsibility for ensuring that workers understand the dangers of heat-related illnesses. When the worst happens and you suffer the effects of a hot outside job, you might qualify for benefits. Read on to learn more.
What to Know About Heat Stress and Heat Stroke
You can stop a case of heat stress from progressing to worse if you take action quickly after observing these signs:
- Heat rash
- Muscle cramps
If any of the following heat stroke symptoms occur, emergency medical treatment is needed:
- Heavy perspiration
- Slurred speech
Taking Action Against Heat Injuries
Your employer may be unaware of the effects of the heat on a worker's health, particularly those who work from air conditioned offices. If you or any coworkers experience heat-related symptoms:
1. Seek shade (preferably a cool location indoors).
2. Avoid drinking cold water, but do drink cool water.
3. Use wet compresses applied to the head and neck area.
4. Alert your supervisor to any heat-related incidents and make a note.
Seeking Workers' Compensation Coverage
Heat-related illnesses can be deadly and, at a minimum, will result in missed work and medical bills. Your employer's worker's compensation insurance should cover your lost wages (partially) and your full medical expenses. Follow up with your supervisor to ensure a claim is filed promptly with the insurance carrier. You should be prepared that the workers' compensation carrier may not approve your claim for heat-related illnesses. This can occur for various reasons and the reason will be noted in the denial letter you receive.
Taking Action Against the Workers' Comp Agency
You don't have to accept the adversarial ruling. You should take action to gain your rightful benefits. Speak to a workers' comp attorney if any of the following occur:
- Your employer refuses to file a claim.
- Your heat-related injury is being unfairly connected to a preexisting condition.
- You are being told that the injury is unconnected to your job.
- The carrier has denied your claim for any reason.
- You have been left with a permanent condition due to the heat-related injury.
- You have been ordered to return to your job without full healing
Speak to an attorney for help with your workers' compensation case regardless of the nature of the injury. You may need to take legal action to ensure coverage of your workplace injury. For more information, reach out to law firms like Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn LLP.