Workers’ Compensation for a Heat Related Injury
Heatstroke is one of the most common forms of injury that occurs during the summertime. Heatstroke happens when a person’s body temperature rises to 104 degrees when they are out in the sun/heat. If a person suffers from heatstroke and does not receive medical attention immediately, they could have damage to their brain, kidney, heart, or other organs.
Luckily, there are many ways that a person can avoid suffering from heatstroke by either jumping in a pool or the shower, going in the shade, or even going inside to air conditioning. However, heatstroke is not always easily preventable. If you or someone you know received heatstroke from working on the job, the employer might be found liable.
Pennsylvania employment laws require workplaces to provide safe temperatures for their employees. Certain factors can be avoided to prevent heatstroke from occurring in a work environment.
Many different heat-related illnesses can affect an employee in a workplace. Heat rash, the most common heat-related disease, causes skin rashes and irritation. Heat cramps occur when excessive heat causes employees to sweat out the body’s essential minerals. Heat exhaustion is severe and requires immediate removal from the environment and medical attention. Heatstroke is the most serious heat-related injury. This occurs when the body cannot cool itself down on its own. If not treated immediately, heatstroke can cause death.
Employers need to commit to taking concrete measures to prevent employees from obtaining heat-related injuries on the job. A person can be on duty to monitor employees for any heat-related illnesses. Employers should also always have clean water and air conditioning readily available for employees. Companies should also try to tailor their schedule to make sure that their workers will not have to work in the excessive heat. An emergency response plan is crucial to have so that heat-related illnesses can be avoided at all costs.
In Pennsylvania, workers can receive workers’ compensation if they sustained a heat injury while on the job. Below, you will find a list of three different scenarios of when a person may be able to sue due to a heat-related injury:
- Employees Without a Controlled Client
In the employment environment, employers are required to keep the workplace at a safe temperature for employees. In environments where the climate cannot be controlled, employers need to provide workers with water, air conditioning, and proper sun protection. Even when a company goes to far ends to prevent heat illnesses from occurring, it can still happen, and if it does happen, the employee can sue the employer.
- Supervision and Kids
When children are playing outside in the heat, the adult that is supervising them is liable for their heat-related illness if that occurs. Why? Because being liable is just as important as making sure they are drinking water and not overheating.
During extreme heat waves, schools will often hold recess inside to make sure that this does not occur. Day Care facilities, after-school programs, recreational sports coaches, schools, and even individual babysitters and other parents can be held liable if a child in their care is injured.
- Outdoor Events and Activities
Businesses and event planners can also be held responsible if they host an event and people suffer from heat illnesses. Games need to make sure that there are heat relief areas that can help cool people down and help people hydrate. Companies need to be cautious with outdoor activities and ensure they monitor, or minimally warn, consumers for heat injury.
If you are a victim of heat-related illness that you obtained while being on the job, you should consider filing for workers’ compensation benefits. Krasno, Krasno & Onwudinjo is an experienced workers’ compensation law-firm that can help you with your case. Contact us at (877)-299-0779 if you would like to learn more or to receive a free case evaluation.