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Extreme heat puts workers in danger of injury, illness and death

California workers can become ill, suffer injuries and lose their lives in on-the-job accidents regardless of the industry in which they work. These accidents can happen in many ways. After recent heat waves, it’s a good time to note that weather can be the cause of on-the-job injuries.

OSHA considers options to address protecting workers from extreme heat

Climate change is believed to be causing rapid changes to temperatures and resulting in excessive heat. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is considering strategies for worker protection during times of excessive heat.

In one recent incident, a California UPS driver died on a very hot day. The man’s death is still being analyzed, but the physical requirements of the job and the heat might have been factors. UPS trucks do not have air conditioning. A driver in Arizona also collapsed while working for UPS.

Statistically, an average of 38 workers died due to the heat between 2011 and 2019. Forty-three lost their lives and more than 2,400 were injured because of the heat in 2019. There is a gap in reporting heat-related injuries, conditions and death, so the numbers are believed to be far worse.

Workers’ compensation

Workers might not even be aware of the contribution the hot weather is having on their health problems. In Northern California, for example, vineyard workers are required to spend significant time outside performing physical labor. The same is true for construction workers, road workers, delivery drivers and first responders. The oppressive heat could slowly impact them and cause them to become ill, injured and even die.

Workers’ compensation can cover for medical costs, rehabilitative treatment, lost wages and death benefits for family members. Accruing proof and filing the proper information can avoid disagreements and lengthy wait times. It is critical for those who need benefits for any reason to have assistance with their claim and to consult with professionals as soon as possible.