South Carolina is known for having hot, humid temperatures. In Aiken, the warm weather begins in April or May and remains clear through the fall. While this may be a draw for vacationers, it can put workers in serious jeopardy. At this time of year, heat related on the job injuries are a serious risk that can entitle you to workers’ compensation benefits. The following outlines some of the most common types of heat exposure and what you can do to protect yourself and your rights to benefits.
Heat Related Illnesses
Heat related illnesses are a common hazard for people who work outdoors or inside in hot temperatures. Landscapers, construction crews, and highway workers are all at risk, as are those working in bakeries, factories, dry cleaners, restaurants, and amusement parks or at other outdoor businesses. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are four common types of heat related illnesses that jeopardize the health of workers in these and other fields:
Heat rash: This is a common skin irritation often referred to as prickly heat. It happens when sweat fails to evaporate from the skin.
Heat cramps: These happen when your body sweats and loses important fluids and salt. Muscles get tired and begin to cramp up, which can occur on the job or later at home.
Heat exhaustion: This includes symptoms such as headache, dizziness, nausea, and general weakness. It is a sign that your body has lost a dangerous amount of fluid.
Heat stroke: This is the most serious type of heat related illness and requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms include mental confusion, loss of consciousness, and the possibility of seizures.
To avoid these types of heat related illnesses on the job, employers must provide plenty of water, frequent breaks, and rest periods where workers have an opportunity to get out of the sun and into cooler temperatures.
Protect Your Rights to Benefits
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), South Carolina has the second highest rate of heat related injuries throughout the country. At the first sign of any of the above illnesses, it is important to notify your employer immediately. These injuries can end up having serious ramifications on your health and may prevent you from working or performing certain tasks on your job.
Once you have reported a heat related illness to your employer, it is important that you get immediate medical care and follow all of your doctor’s instructions. This includes refraining from work or other activities, undergoing all recommended tests and procedures, and attending all follow up visits. Failing to do any of the above could cause your workers’ compensation benefits claim to be denied.
Let Us Help You Today
At the Surasky Law Firm, LLC, we act as a strong advocate on your side when work related injuries occur, helping you get the benefits you are entitled to. Contact our Aiken workers’ compensation attorney today.