Posted On: July 11, 2009 by Steven J. Malman

Illinois Workers’ Compensation: Preventing Illness and Injury When Working in Hot Weather

OSHA is providing tips to employers and workers for how to work safely in hot weather. It is important to know what to do when your job takes place in a hot environments, outdoors, or under direct sunlight so that you don't end up suffering from work illnesses, such as heat exhaustion, heat stress, or heat stroke.

If you are a worker that got sick because of working in hot weather, you are likely entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. Construction workers, field workers, emergency workers, and industrial workers are just some examples of employees that may be at risk of suffering from a heat-related illness.

Steps employers can take to protect workers from the effects of heat:
• Slowly acclimatize workers to the heat so that they get used to being in such hot temperatures.
• Teach workers about the importance of staying hydrated and provide them cool liquids and water.
• Decrease the physical demands assigned to each worker. You may want to hire relief workers or add more workers to the shift.
• Make sure there are areas that workers can go to recover from the heat; tents with fans or air-conditioned rooms are two possible solutions.
• Consider scheduling the more arduous tasks during the cooler parts of the day.
• Provide workers with (or recommend that they use) clothing intended to minimize heat stress, such as wetted clothing, reflective clothing, or water-cooled-garments.

Conditions that can lead to heat stress:
• High humidity
• Hot temperatures
• Direct heat or sun
• Not enough air
• Physical exertion
• Poor health
• Dehydration

Heat disorders that can occur on the job:
Heat stroke: Symptoms can include convulsions, hot, dry skin, loss of consciousness, very high body temperature. This could lead to death.

Heat exhaustion: Signs can include nausea, dizziness, thirst, headaches, and giddiness.
Heat cramps: Can occur during hard labor.
Heat rashes: Red rashes on the skin.

OSHA offers tips on working safely in hot weather, OSHA, June 22, 2009

Protecting workers from the effects of heat, OSHA Fact Sheet (PDF)

Related Web Resources:
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

New Rules for Preventing Heat Illnesses, State Compensation Insurance Fund

Regardless of why you got sick on the job, your employer is supposed to pay you all of the work injury benefits that you are owed. Please contact Chicago workers' compensation lawyer Steve Malman about your injury case.

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