More than 73,000 people work in construction in Nevada. And these workers represent only some of the many workers who work outside. Tens of thousands of Nevada residents work outside in the heat in the summer. Too often, they suffer from heat-related illnesses like heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and heat stress. Indoor workers can also suffer from heat-related illness and injury.
Workers’ Compensation and Heat-Related Injuries
Most people know that worker’s compensation is available to pay compensation for many types of workplace injuries like slip and fall accidents. But is workers’ compensation available if you need medical attention from overheating? Here’s what you need to know from our Nevada workers’ compensation lawyers.
Can I Get Workers’ Compensation for Heat Stroke on the Job?
Yes, you may be able to get workers’ compensation for heat stroke on the job. If you get heat stroke because of your employment, the medical attention that you need should be paid for by workers’ compensation. In addition, if heat stroke causes you to miss work, your employer should pay you a percentage of your wages until you’re able to return to full employment.
Why Do Our Bodies Overheat?
Your body temperature may rise for several reasons. Hot temperatures, sunshine, humidity, exercise, external heat sources, and even large crowds can contribute to elevated body temperature. When your body can’t adjust to rising temperatures, it may overheat.
The body is especially susceptible to overheating when you’re not used to the heat. In fact, 80 percent of heat-related work illness and injury occurs in the first four days on the job. In half the cases, the affected worker was on their very first day of work. Both employers and employees should take special precautions to watch for overheating when an employee starts a new job.
Is Heat Stroke a Work-Related Injury for Workers’ Compensation Purposes?
Yes, heat stroke is a work-related injury for workers’ compensation purposes. You may qualify to receive workers’ compensation payments if you get heat stroke at work. To get compensation, you must make a report and seek appropriate medical care.
Heat-Related Illness On the Job
Heat stroke and heat exhaustion can cause the heart, liver, kidneys, muscles, and nerves to malfunction. Overheating can even cause blood disorders. Heat-related illnesses at work can be fatal. Even seconds can be critically important when someone suffers from heat stress.
Heat-related illness can come from any of the following working conditions:
- Outdoor work
- Indoor work without proper ventilation
- Strenuous physical work
- Prolonged exposure to sunshine
- Wearing protective clothing that doesn’t breathe and covers most of the skin
- Hot machinery nearby
- Working near fire or hot lights
Nevada OSHA Standards For Working in Heat
Neither Nevada or United States OSHA regulators have official rules for when employees can work in the heat. However, all employees have the right to work in an environment that is reasonably safe. Employers must take measures to protect workers from serious hazards in the workplace. If heat might be a problem, the employer should prepare a hot weather plan. OSHA recommends elevated awareness and precaution when the temperature reaches 91 degrees. Extra precautions are important when workers are acclimating to warmer temperatures.
Nevada Workers’ Compensation for Heat Stress
If you have problems because of heat stress at work, you may be able to file for workers’ compensation. The workers’ compensation system covers any work-related illness or injury. It isn’t just for slip and fall accidents. Workers’ compensation includes any kind of harm that might happen to you during the course of your employment.
How To Prove Workers’ Compensation for Heat Stroke
To get workers’ compensation for a heat-related injury, you must prove that the injury is the result of your work. In other words, if you run a marathon on a hot day before you get to work and you work in an air-conditioned office, even if you start to feel the effects of the heat, your work wasn’t the cause. However, if you begin to feel nauseated after working as a landscaper in the sun for two hours without a break, your heat-related illness is likely the result of your work.
Because you must show that your heat-related illness results from your work, it’s important to seek medical attention right away if you show signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. A medical professional can document your symptoms and provide important documentation for your workers’ compensation claim. If the cause of your heat illness becomes a matter of debate in the case, you want proof that you sought medical attention as soon as possible.
Is Employer Negligence Required for Workers’ Compensation Payments Based on Heat-Related Illness?
No, employer negligence is not required for workers’ compensation payments based on heat-related illness. Your employer is responsible for any illness or injury that you get from working. That includes heat-related illnesses. Even though every employer has a duty to provide safe working conditions, workers’ compensation is available even if the employer did everything that they could to prevent heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
Challenging a Workers’ Comp Decision for Heat Stroke or Heat Exhaustion
If you disagree with a determination of workers’ comp for a heat stroke or heat exhaustion claim, you can challenge the decision. You have the right to file an appeal. You can even take your matter to court. Nevada has strong laws that protect workers, but you must exercise your rights and demand a hearing. It’s up to you to prepare and present the evidence that allows the hearing officer to make the correct decision in your case.
Contact Our Attorneys for Workers’ Compensation For Heat Illness
Did you suffer from heat stroke or heat exhaustion on the job? Are you unable to work? Do you have medical bills? You need a workers’ compensation law firm that will fight for you. At Adam S. Kutner & Associates, our attorneys will fight to ensure that your workers’ compensation case gets paid fairly and quickly.
A workers’ compensation case related to heat stroke is complex. Don’t leave it to chance. Our professionals can help you take the necessary steps to pursue your case in the best possible way. There’s no cost to speak with our team. Call us today.