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Is There a Connection Between Hotter Weather and Workplace Injuries?

  • Published: May 22, 2022
Connection Between Hotter Weather and Workplace Injury

According to the CDC, workers exposed to extreme heat or workers whose duties require them to be in a hot environment are at risk of heat stress. Being exposed to extreme heat can lead to occupational illnesses and injuries. Additionally, workers who are overweight, have heart disease, have high blood pressure, take medication, or are 65 or older may be even more vulnerable to extreme heat exposure. Employers need to take the necessary precautions to help prevent their employees from experiencing heat stress and developing occupational illness and injuries due to extreme heat exposure.

California workers’ comp laws are meant to help protect workers in the event that they are harmed at work because of a work-related duty. However, employers and insurance companies may try to deny claims or offer low settlement offers to protect their personal best interests rather than the health and stability of the injured employee. At KCNS Law Group, our workers’ comp lawyers are dedicated to protecting the rights of workers across California. Contact a workers’ comp lawyer as soon as possible if you’ve sustained a workplace injury.

Common Heat-Related Injuries or Illnesses in the Workplace

The research conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles and Stanford University compared over 11 million workers’ comp claims in California between 2001 and 2018 to the local weather data. Their research showed that during times of high heat weather frequency (90° F and above), occupational injuries increased from 6% to 9%. The same study also showed that when temperatures increase into the triple digits, the risk of occupational injuries increases from 10% to 15%.

This research also notes that since California implemented mandates for employers to take necessary steps to prevent heat illness for outdoor workers once the temperature rises above 95° F, occupational injuries related to heat have begun to decline. However, heat-related workplace injuries and illnesses are still prevalent in the workplace. Some of the most common include:

  • Heatstroke: Heatstroke occurs when the body is unable to control its own temperature, and its temperature begins to rise rapidly. Heatstroke may lead to permanent disability or death.
  • Heat Exhaustion: Heat exhaustion is the body’s response to an excessive loss of water, especially under high temperatures.
  • Rhabdomyolysis: Rhabdomyolysis is a medical condition caused by heat stress and prolonged physical exertion causing the rapid breakdown, rupture, or death of muscle.
  • Heat Syncope: Heat syncope is a fainting episode or dizziness that results from prolonged standing or sudden rising from a sitting position.
  • Heat Cramps: Heat cramps usually affect workers prone to sweating a lot while performing strenuous activities. Excessive sweating depletes the body’s moisture and salt levels, causing painful cramps.
  • Heat Rash: A heat rash is a skin irritation due to excessive sweating during hot or humid weather.

Extreme heat has the potential to cause significant harm to workers exposed to those high temperatures. The effects of extreme heat are severe enough that there is an increase in occupational injuries and illness when temperatures spike. Employers should take the necessary steps to protect their workers from these risks because when they fail to do so, it can substantially impact a worker’s quality of life.

Experienced Workers’ Comp Lawyers at KCNS Law Group

At KCNS Law Group, we specialize in workers’ comp claims and have a team of skilled and dedicated workers’ comp attorneys with over 49 years of combined experience. Our passionate and knowledgeable attorneys have dedicated their careers to advocating for the rights of California workers. We take a client-centered approach that is concentrated on providing the individual and strategic representation our clients need. Contact our office today to speak with one of our attorneys by filling out our contact form or calling (818) 937-9255.

KCNS Law Group LLP

Our client-based approach is concentrated on our commitment to providing individual and strategic representation tailored to our client’s specific needs.

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