In California, many workers are required to perform their duties outdoors and in various types of weather. This is especially true for the state’s farmworkers. These individuals work extremely hard and they are confronted with a litany of risks. Not only must they be near vehicles and machinery while trusting co-workers to adhere to proper safety practices and employers to follow guidelines, but the heat can be a danger to their health. If a worker suffered an injury or illness because of the heat, it is imperative to understand the process for workers’ compensation benefits.
Outdoor workers often face inherent dangers on the job
Current events have placed farmworkers in jeopardy as they go about their duties. The ongoing health crisis and wildfires are two circumstantial issues. These come and go and most try to navigate them as best they can. Weather is a different matter. The heat is seasonal and even with allusions to climate change making it even hotter, farmworkers have long been subject to the potential hazards linked to overwhelmingly high temperatures. The nature of the work requires that workers are outside in the heat and wear certain types of clothing to protect themselves. Long-sleeved shirts, boots, hats and jeans are the norm when doing these jobs. This increases the chance of high body temperatures causing health problems.
Record heat has been worrisome for workers at the front lines of this industry with certain areas of California reaching at least 120 degrees. Injuries and death because of the heat are common in the U.S. In the 25 years from 1992 to 2017, there were 70,000 worker injuries and 815 deaths because of the heat. In the decade from 2005 to 2015, the state had a 35% spike in workers needing emergency room treatment due to heat-related issues. In 2018, 6,152 Californians went to the emergency room after being overcome by the heat.
Workers’ compensation may help after heat-related health problems
In California, there are fundamental worker protections to shield them from heat-related risk. Preventative measures are always preferable to becoming injured or ill and needing to file for workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, many still face health challenges. To be covered for lost income, medical care, long-term issues and more, getting approved for workers’ compensation is key. Since the process can be complicated and there are many reasons why a claim might be delayed or denied, it is useful to have assistance from the start to move forward and have a good chance at receiving the maximum benefits.