Will workers’ compensation cover heat related illnesses?

by | Jul 16, 2015 | Workers' Compensation

It is the middle of summer and the heat is definitely on in Pennsylvania. During the warm seasons when temperatures can soar into the high 90s or even the 100s, heat related illnesses start to make their appearance. This is so for everyone, and those performing their work tasks are not exempt from these conditions in many situations. Workers’ compensation will indeed cover heat illnesses as long as the condition occurred in the scope of one’s employment.

Workers at an especially high risk for suffering heat illnesses are construction workers, firefighters, bakers, factory workers, farmers and those working outside during the day’s hottest periods. Additional factors that can have an effect on the risk for heat illness include high blood pressure, history of heart disease, age (65 or older) and even some medications.

The CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists five basic types of heat stress workers could experience. They are:

— Heat rash with symptoms such as clusters of blisters or pimples– Heat Stroke with symptoms such as profuse sweating or dry and hot skin, confusion, dizziness, hallucinations, chills and others– Heat Exhaustion with symptoms like muscle cramps, clammy skin, dizziness, confusion, extreme fatigue or weakness, heavy sweating and others– Heat Cramps with symptoms including pain or spasms in muscles of arms, legs or abdomen– Heat Syncope (fainting) with symptoms such as dizziness, light headedness and fainting

Pennsylvania is a highly industrialized state, which means workers are often exposed to severe heat as they carry out their duties. Speaking with an attorney following work related heat illnesses can open to door to workers’ compensation and, in some cases, third party lawsuits.

Source: CDC, “Heat Stress,” accessed July 16, 2015

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