Do High Summer Temperatures Increase Work Injuries?
The impact of scorching heat is not limited to outdoor job settings alone. The soaring summer temperatures can significantly increase the risk of work-related injuries whether you work outdoors or indoors.
Outdoor Heat-Related Injuries
Outdoor workers face some of the most direct and immediate risks associated with high summer temperatures. Here are some of the key challenges they encounter:
Heat Stress and Heat Stroke
Heat-related illnesses are a major concern for those who work outdoors. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can lead to heat stress and even heat stroke. Symptoms include confusion, rapid pulse, and, in severe cases, loss of consciousness. These conditions are not only dangerous but can be life-threatening.
Sweating profusely due to the heat can lead to rapid dehydration. Dehydrated workers may experience dizziness, weakness, and reduced cognitive function. Dehydration can impair judgment and coordination, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
Outdoor workers are exposed to harmful UV rays for extended periods. Without adequate protection, they are at risk of painful sunburns, which can reduce comfort and productivity, according to our Philadelphia burn injury attorney.
Heat-induced fatigue can affect concentration and decision-making abilities, increasing the likelihood of injury accidents.
Indoor Heat-Related Injuries
While indoor workers may not face direct sun exposure, high summer temperatures can still impact their well-being and safety. Here’s how:
In some regions or work environments, indoor temperatures can rise significantly during the summer, especially if they are poorly ventilated or lack air conditioning. As a result, it can lead to heat stress.
Similar to outdoor workers, those who work indoors can also suffer from heat-induced fatigue, which can lead to reduced productivity and cognitive function.
Some indoor workplaces rely on equipment or machinery that can be sensitive to temperature changes. High temperatures can cause malfunctions, increasing the risk of accidents or delays.
Rights of Workers Exposed to High Summer Temperatures
Pennsylvania, like many other states, has specific regulations and guidelines in place to protect the rights and safety of workers who are exposed to high temperatures while on the job. These regulations aim to prevent heat-related illnesses and injuries. Below are some fundamental rights and protections:
- Right to a Safe Workplace: Employers are legally obligated to provide a safe environment for their employees.
- Heat Stress Prevention: Employers are expected to take measures to prevent heat-related illnesses by implementing heat stress prevention programs and policies.
- Access to Water: Workers must have access to an adequate supply of cool drinking water at all times.
- Rest Breaks: Employees working in hot conditions have the right to request breaks in the shade to cool down.
- Training and Education: Employers should provide training and education to employees about the risks of working in hot conditions, the signs of heat-related illnesses, and how to respond to them.
- Reporting Concerns: Workers have the right to report any concerns about unsafe working conditions, including excessive heat, to their employer or appropriate regulatory agencies without fear of retaliation.
Workers who suffer a heat-related injury or illness have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. Benefits typically cover reasonable medical expenses, partial lost wages, and more. Speak to a Philadelphia work injury attorney today for help with your claim and to learn about the types of compensation you are entitled to receive.