Our Skilled Workers' Compensation Team Helps You Understand Options for Heat-Related Work Injuries

You might not always think about the risk of heat-related injuries in Ohio, but our summers can get hot and humid. If you work outdoors on a sweltering day, you know exactly how intense it can be. According to a study by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), professionals in hundreds of industries face dangerous heat exposure. Under OSHA's General Duty Clause, employers must provide a place of employment that "is free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm to employees." However, no federal occupational standard protects workers from hazardous conditions due to heat exposure. 

OSHA is working toward establishing an official requirement that clearly outlines employer obligations and protective measures against excessive heat. Suppose you live in Ohio and suffer a heat-related work injury. In that case, the knowledgeable workers' compensation professionals at the Monast Law Office will explain your rights and the steps necessary to collect workers' compensation to pay medical bills and lost wages.

Most Common Heat-Related Work Injuries

The National Weather Service (NWS) indicates that "the heat index, also known as apparent temperature,  is what the temperature feels like to the human body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature. The heat index has important considerations for the human body's comfort." This NWS chart describes the "likelihood of heat disorders" due to the heat index. 

Workers exposed to hot and humid weather may experience heat rash, exhaustion, and cramps. But here are two of the more complicated heat-related work injuries.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a severe illness. It occurs when the body's temperature regulation fails, rapidly increasing your core temperature. Workers can be at risk for heat stroke if they're in high temperatures for too long doing strenuous physical activity, are dehydrated, or wear heavy protective clothing. Heat stroke requires immediate medical attention, significantly so professionals can rapidly cool the body, and more severe cases may require hospitalization. 

Recovery can take several days to weeks, and some people experience chronic health issues such as heart or kidney complications. Heat stroke can also be fatal. 

Heart Attack

A heart attack occurs when blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked, causing damage to the heart muscle. High temperatures increase the strain on the heart, especially during physical exertion. Workers are at risk for a heart attack if they are under stress from the heat, have preexisting cardiovascular conditions, are dehydrated, and are overexerted in hot conditions. 

Someone having a heart attack experiences symptoms such as: 

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Cold sweats

A heart attack requires immediate medical intervention, often involving medication, surgery, or other procedures. Recovery varies depending on the severity of the incident but generally includes rest, lifestyle changes, and possibly cardiac rehabilitation.

Who's at Risk the Most?

Many people can suffer on-the-job injuries due to heat and sun exposure. Even working in the shade won't offer relief if the heat index is too high. 

Professionals such as roofers, construction workers, agricultural workers, landscapers, and other outdoor laborers face a significant risk of heat-related illnesses. Additionally, individuals with preexisting health conditions—such as heart disease or diabetes—and those who are new or unacclimated to the heat are also compromised. Working during peak heat hours, especially without adequate hydration, further heightens the danger.

How Our Ohio Workers' Compensation Legal Team Helps You Pursue Benefits For Heat-Related Injuries

The injury or illness must have occurred during active employment to qualify for benefits. This includes heat stroke or a heart attack resulting from work conditions. Additionally, you must be classified as a regular employee rather than an independent contractor.

The types of compensation you could receive may include:

  • Medical expenses. This includes treatment coverage, hospital stays, medications, and other necessary healthcare services.
  • Wage replacement. Temporary total disability benefits may be available if you cannot work for more than seven days, providing a portion of lost wages.
  • Permanent disability. This is compensation for workers who suffer permanent impairments due to heat-related injuries.
  • Vocational rehabilitation. You may also qualify for help with retraining or finding new employment if you can't return to your previous job.

The steps you take right after your heat-related work injury are critical to your physical and financial recovery. To begin the claims process, you must immediately report the injury to your employer and fill out a First Report of Injury Form with the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation

Proving a direct connection between an illness or injury and work duties is the key to a successful workers' compensation claim. Where claims are disputed or complicated, seeking legal assistance from the Monast Law Office can ensure you receive the Ohio workers' compensation benefits you deserve.



James Monast
Connect with me
Board-Certified Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Columbus, Ohio