High temperatures lead to an increase in workplace injuries

This article looks at how extreme heat leads to an increase in traumatic injuries for workers.

This summer has been a particularly hot one both in New York and across the country. With temperatures soaring into the high 90s and triple digits, it is important to remember that hot weather poses a serious risk to workers' health and well-being. In fact, recent research shows that workplace injuries increase on hot days, especially for farm workers and others who work outside. The increased risk has led to calls for safety regulators to do more to ensure employers are providing workers with a safe environment on hot days.

Increased risk of heat-related injuries

As KOMO News reports, recent research done by the University of Washington found that days that reach in excess of the high 70s tend to see an increase in traumatic injuries. Farm workers, unsurprisingly, are at especially high risk and suffer 15 to 16 percent more injuries on hot days.

However, anybody who works outside or in an environment that is not air conditioned could be at risk. Postal workers, roofers, delivery drivers, and construction workers all face a higher injury risk in hot weather.

Heat stroke is especially serious and occurs when the body reaches 104 degrees F or higher. Heat stroke is considered a medical emergency and, if left untreated, can result in death. Heat exhaustion, on the other hand, is also very serious and in many ways resembles heat stroke, but can usually be alleviated with fluids and a cooler environment.

More protections for workers

As the New York Daily News reports, while hot days may be unavoidable, there is no reason why employers cannot provide protections to workers who are in extreme-heat environments. In fact, a number of health advocacy groups are calling on the federal government to do more to crack down on workplaces that do not protect workers from heat-related injuries.

They want standards implemented for extreme-heat days, such as access to shade, a ready supply of water, rest breaks, and giving workers a chance to adapt to extreme heat gradually. Similar measures are already used by the U.S. military and are enshrined in the workplace-safety laws of three states (California, Minnesota, and Washington). The groups also point out that such measures were adapted during the Deepwater Horizon spill cleanup, which resulted in no worker deaths despite the extreme heat of the Gulf Coast.

Representation for injured workers

Employers have a duty to provide workers with a safe workplace. Workers who have been injured on the job should get in touch with Silverman, Silverman & Seligman, P.C. as soon as possible for help. Their experienced attorneys can advise injured workers about how to go about filing for workers' compensation and, in some situations, how to pursue additional claims for injuries and illnesses that may have been caused by an employer's negligence.