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Can I claim workers’ comp for heat-related illnesses?

In many jobs, especially those that require outdoor work in hot climates or environments with high heat sources, workers face the risk of heat stroke or heat exhaustion. These conditions are not only dangerous but can also lead to significant health problems. 

If you suffer from heat stroke or heat exhaustion as a result of your job, you might wonder if you can claim workers’ compensation benefits. 

What are heat stroke and heat exhaustion?

Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are serious health conditions caused by the body overheating, typically as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. Heat exhaustion is the milder form of the condition and can include symptoms such as heavy sweating, rapid pulse, dizziness, and muscle cramps. If untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which is more severe and requires immediate medical attention. Heat stroke occurs when the body’s temperature rises to dangerous levels and can result in symptoms like confusion, seizures, and loss of consciousness.

Are heat-related illnesses covered by workers’ comp?

Workers’ compensation systems are designed to cover illnesses and injuries that occur as a direct result of job-related activities. In many cases, if you suffer from a heat-related illness because of your work environment or job duties, you can file for workers’ compensation benefits. This includes situations where the nature of the job requires you to be out in the sun for long hours or in hot conditions without adequate breaks or hydration.

How can you support your claim?

To strengthen your claim for workers’ compensation due to a heat-related illness, you should take several steps. First, report the injury or illness to your employer as soon as possible. It’s important to document the conditions under which you were working at the time of the incident, such as the temperature and the lack of available shade or water.

It is also important to seek medical attention immediately if you experience symptoms of a heat-related illness. A medical professional can provide a diagnosis and treatment, and their documentation will be essential when you file your workers’ comp claim. Be sure to keep records of all your medical visits, treatments, and recommendations from your healthcare provider.

If a heat-related illness impacts you because of your work conditions, you likely have a valid reason to file a workers’ compensation claim. Always prioritize safety and preventative measures to reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses on the job.