Heat Stress In The Workplace
The last few summers have proven to be some of the hottest on record. Unfortunately, rising temperatures come with a lot of risks, including heat stress, which occurs when the body is exposed to extreme heat and cannot cool down, resulting in a rapid and dangerous rise in body temperature. Heat stress is becoming an increasingly serious problem for employees who work outside or who perform strenuous labor, leaving some victims in need of hospitalization. If you suffered from heat stress, or a similar condition while on the job, please reach out to an experienced Wilkes Barre workers’ compensation lawyer to learn more about filing a claim for benefits.
What is Heat Stress?
Our bodies are able to handle high temperatures by sweating, which removes body heat. However, when humidity is high, which is typical in hot weather, sweat often doesn’t evaporate quickly enough, which in turn, prevents the body from releasing excess heat. This can be extremely dangerous if it progresses to the point of heat stress, which is actually a term used to describe a series of conditions that involve overheating.
Susceptibility to Heat Stress
While many people commonly associate heat stress with the elderly, or individuals with chronic medical conditions, young and healthy individuals can fall victim to this condition just as easily if they engage in strenuous physical activities, or take medications that affect the body’s ability to regulate its internal temperatures.
When it comes to employment in Pennsylvania, some workers are at a higher risk of suffering from heat stress. For instance, heat-related conditions are particularly common amongst those who work outdoors, including construction and landscaping workers, or those who are employed as highway or utility line workers. Employees who work in indoor facilities, however, are not immune from this condition, as anyone who encounters hot temperatures could end up suffering from a heat-related condition.
Heat Stress-Related Conditions
Heat stress encompasses a variety of related conditions, including:
- Heatstroke, which is accompanied by a rapid pulse, confusion, a loss of consciousness, and seizures;
- Heat exhaustion, which occurs when the body experiences an excessive loss of salt due to sweating and can cause nausea, headaches, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, and weakness in the limbs;
- Rhabdomyolysis, which can lead to the death of muscle tissue and often manifests as cramping, irregular heart rhythm, seizures, and kidney damage;
- Heat syncope, which involves short duration fainting, dizziness, and feelings of lightheadedness;
- Heat cramps, which can cause pain in the abdomen and limbs, as well as muscle spasms; and
- Heat rash, or clusters of small blisters that are caused by profuse sweating.
To learn more about seeking benefits for these kinds of heat-related medical conditions, please reach out to our office today.
Contact Our Wilkes Barre Legal Team Today
If you suffered from a heat stress-related illness because of conditions in your workplace, you could be entitled to reimbursement for your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages. Please call the Figured Law Firm at 570-954-9299 to speak with an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyer about your legal options.