At the start of each summer, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health reminds employers about the risks of excessive exposure to heat. However, each year, workers’ compensation claims are filed for heat-related illnesses. Although outdoor workers are at the highest risk, employers must not lose sight of the dangers of indoor heat. This year, the risk is exacerbated because many businesses have been closed for an extended period, and some workers are returning to work out of shape.
Even workers with many years of experience might need to acclimatize gradually. Workers must receive refresher safety training to remind them of the dangers of heat stress, which can cause heat exhaustion, heatstroke, heat rashes and cramps. Furthermore, excessive sweating can prevent workers’ ability to grip the tools of their trade properly, and the risk of safety glasses fogging up is another safety hazard.
During the lockdown period, workers may have become used to air-conditioned, cooler indoor conditions. Without allowing workers to be re-acclimatized, the sudden exposure to all-day heat could have severe consequences. Employers are urged to establish heat prevention plans to which all workers have access.
For California workers in occupations that expose them to excessive heat, it might be a good idea to learn the appropriate steps to take in the event of them suffering heat-related workplace injuries. Workers will likely be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Many affected workers choose to utilize the skills of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to navigate the benefits claims in pursuit of compensation to cover medical expenses and lost wages while they focus on recovering enough to return to work.