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Heat stress and your job - injury could lead to workers' comp

In our youth, summer was a time to run through the sprinkler and enjoy a nice, cold glass of lemonade. As we age, summer continues to be a time to work, making the money needed to pay for the sprinklers our loved ones are enjoying during their summer breaks. Those who are working during these hot months should take precautions to avoid injuries associated with heat stress.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, there are five types of heat stress that workers and employers should be aware of: heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat syncope, heat cramps and heat rash. Employers are encouraged to reduce the risk of workers' suffering from these injuries by providing ventilation within the workplace, providing cool liquids to workers and also allowing for rest periods.

Employers that do not provide workers' with a safe working environment may be in violation of federal regulations. If in violation and an injury results, the worker may be eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits.

Heat stress should not be taken lightly. Heat exhaustion, heat syncope and heat cramps can lead to mistakes during the job, causing potential for serious injury if the employee is using dangerous equipment or working at certain heights. Furthermore, heat stroke is a medical emergency. These conditions are fairly easily avoided if proper precautions are taken.

When these precautions are not taken and an injury results, workers' should consider filing for compensation through the workers' comp benefits program. This program is designed to help cover the cost of medical and rehabilitative treatment as well as missed work.

Navigating through the system can be difficult. Various forms are needed and a mistake could lead to a denial of benefits. Whether at the initial application phase or fighting a denial, it is wise to seek the counsel of an experienced workers' compensation attorney. This legal professional will review the facts of your case and help better ensure your rights are protected and that you get the benefits you deserve.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Workplace Safety & Health Topics: Heat Stress," June 24, 2014

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