Its hard to deny that climate change really does seem to be making its mark this summer of 2022. Repeated heat waves are rolling across the Midwest, creating the conditions for a variety of related injuries or illnesses.
And when an employee suffers injury or sickness related to hot conditions at work – inside or outside – the workers’ compensation program is designed to cover that kind of harm no matter whose fault it is or if it is no one’s fault.
Examples of dangers from heat exposure:
- Heatstroke or sunstroke
- Heat exhaustion
- Heat rash
- Shock or loss of consciousness
- Brain damage
Both indoor and outdoor jobs can be risky. Hot indoor industrial or manufacturing workplaces may get hotter and more dangerous. Of course, those who toil outside for long periods of time must take great care such as roofers, agricultural workers, utility workers, construction workers, landscapers and lawn maintenance workers and others.
Employers have duties under federal and state laws to keep workplaces safe, including the regulation of temperature and provision of safety equipment, shelter, fluids, breaks and more. But even if a worker sustains heat injury because the employer failed to protect them from heat or if the employee fails to drink enough liquids or take required breaks – workers’ compensation should still be applied for. The program ignores fault for work injury and provide benefits regardless.
Anyone working in Illinois harmed by heat on the job should notify their employer, file a workers’ compensation claim and discuss the legal issues with an experienced lawyer.