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Heat-Related Work Injuries

Posted in Work Injury on August 24, 2023

For more than 24 days, phoenix saw temperatures rise above 110 degrees Fahrenheit. According to Fast Company, the heat wave Arizona has been experiencing has broken multiple heat records. In some areas, the asphalt can be 40 to 60 degrees hotter than the outside air temperature, compounding the risks of heat-related work injuries for many employees. Having a Phoenix work injury attorney by your side equips you with a team possessing the essential resources to conduct the required investigation, facilitating your journey to recover compensation for your losses.

Here, we want to review some heat-related work injuries that are becoming more and more common, particularly as the temperatures continue to rise and break records year after year.

Understanding Heat-Related Work Injuries

Dr. Ronda McCarthy, an occupational health specialist in Texas, said that heat-related illnesses and deaths are preventable. In a recent story published by NPR, she said that work-related heat incidents are challenging because it is more than just the ambient air temperature. In addition to the sweltering heat experienced in states like Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico, workers have to consider other factors, including hard hats, protective gear, and respirators, along with whether or not they are working in the direct sunlight or if they have shade.

According to NPR, only five states, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington, have heat protections written into the laws related to workers. There is no federal-level occupational heat rule, though one is currently in development.

Debbie Berkowitz, a worker safety and health expert at Georgetown University, says that “By the time you start experiencing the symptoms of heat stress, you’re on the way to some very dangerous medical conditions.”

Data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that a few conditions caused by heat stress can include:

  • Heat rash
  • Heat cramps
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Heat stroke

Heat-related work injuries can lead to significant long-lasting effects, including cognitive or physical disability, depending on the severity of the initial injury and the success of any rehabilitation.

The CDC states that workers most at risk for heat-related injuries include those who work outdoors and those who work in hot environments, including farmers, construction workers, boiler room workers, factory workers, bakery workers, firefighters, and others. Additionally, they say that those who are 65 years of age or older, have high blood pressure or heart disease, are overweight, or take certain medications could be more affected by extreme heat.

Do You Need a Phoenix Work Injury Attorney?

If you or somebody you love has suffered from a heat-related injury at work, we encourage you to reach out to a skilled attorney as soon as possible. A work injury lawyer in Arizona can offer a free consultation to examine the basic facts of your case. If your insurance carrier or employer pushes back on you receiving compensation for a work-related heat injury, you absolutely need a lawyer to handle your claim. Going up against insurance carriers and employers can be daunting, and gathering the evidence needed to prove a heat-related work injury can be challenging.

When you have an advocate by your side, you will have a team with the resources needed to conduct the investigation necessary to help you recover compensation for your losses. Your lawyer will handle all communication with the insurance carrier as well as any appeals needed with the Industrial Commission of Arizona.