Each year, thousands of workers are affected by workplace heat stress injuries. Learn what heat stress is, how to protect yourself, and what to do if you’re affected.
Workplace injuries are an all too common occurrence, and while most employers take measures to reduce the chances of accidents occurring, there are certain factors of a work environment that are not completely within their control – like the weather, for instance. Workers whose job requires them to endure the elements and long periods of exposure to the hot, Texas sun are at a greater risk of a workplace heat stress injury, as are those that work in factories or other facilities where environmental temperature regulation becomes an issue.
Workplace heat stress is a serious issue, one that can lead to significant health problems and in some cases can even be fatal. Unfortunately, the effects of heat stress can creep up without warning, and it’s not uncommon for someone to not realize that a risk is present until it’s too late.
Many workers are unsure if heat stress is considered a workplace injury in Texas and will incur a mountain of medical bills and the financial strain of lost wages when they could be receiving at least some compensation for damages. Here’s what you need to know about workplace heat stress and what to do if you’re affected.
Heat Stress in the Workplace
Workers can suffer countless types of workplace injuries, many of them avoidable. When it comes to heat stress in the workplace, the most effective, proactive approach involves a combination of employers controlling the environment when possible, helping their employees acclimate to spikes in temperatures and instilling specific protocols that help prevent heat stress from occurring.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, exposure to high environmental temperatures resulted in 37 work-related deaths in 2015, as well as more than 2,800 heat-related occupational injuries and illnesses during the same year. Texas was among the states with the highest number of non-fatality, workplace heat stress injuries.
Signs of Heat Stress
Heat stress is a term used to describe a range of injuries and illnesses that occur as a result of prolonged exposure to heat, which makes it more difficult for the body to regulate its own temperature. Most people are familiar with heat exhaustion and heat stroke as two types of heat stress injuries. Because the initial phases of heat-related injury can produce very subtle symptoms, it’s important that anyone who works outdoors in the heat or in a facility where the temperature exceeds a comfortable level, be aware of the different types and signs of heat stress.
Heat exhaustion occurs when the body overheats and responds to the loss of water and salt that occurs due to excessive perspiration – which is also one of the very first signs of heat stress. Heat exhaustion, if left unchecked, can rapidly progress to heat stroke.
Heat stroke occurs when the body becomes so overheated that it’s no longer able to maintain temperature stability. This process causes a rapid rise in body temperature that can lead to extremely dangerous symptoms. Heat stroke can result in seizures, unconsciousness, cognitive impairment and in extreme cases, death.
Other signs of heat stress include:
- Chills or clammy skin
- Dry, hot skin
- Extremely elevated body temperature
- Loss of balance
- Slurred speech
Contacting a Personal Injury Attorney for Heat Stress in Texas
Employers have a responsibility to protect their workers from heat stress. This responsibility includes measures such as education and awareness of the signs and effects of heat stress, as well as doing whatever possible to help workers acclimate to the heat or reduce work-related exposure to high temperatures. If you’ve suffered a workplace injury due to high environmental temperatures, don’t hesitate to contact Dallas personal injury attorney Zach Herbert to discuss your case of heat stress in Texas.
Heat stress is not something that should be taken lightly. If you’ve suffered from the effects or feel that you’re at risk, it’s important to take measures to protect your health. An experienced lawyer at Herbert & Eberstein in Richardson, Texas can guide you through the process and provide you with the resources you need to recover financially from a workplace heat stress injury.
Attorney Zach Herbert