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Severe heat may lead to workers' compensation claims

Summer is here, bringing lovely warmer weather with it. While most people enjoy the warmth that comes with summer, those working outside may not always enjoy it. Many workers may be exposed to extreme heat and, thus, be in danger of succumbing to heat related illnesses if they are not careful. While the goal is to avoid these results, workers' compensation claims if and when needed.

Workers in Tennessee, as those in seven other Southern states, will all stop what they are working on at an allocated time for specific training. The training will focus on the recognition and prevention of heat-related illnesses. Given that 2,630 workers across the United States suffered from a heat-related illness in 2014, training of this nature is extremely important.

During the same period, 18 deaths due to heat stroke and other related causes were reported. It is disturbing to think that each of these deaths could have been prevented if greater awareness of the dangers of working in extreme heat was present. The one hour stand-down initiative aims at creating greater awareness with both workers and employers regarding the dangers of heat exposure.

Investigations conducted by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration have noted that the majority of deaths relating to heat exposure involved new workers who had only been working outside for a few days, or workers who had just returned to work. These findings highlight the responsibility of employers to ensure that workers who have not acclimatized be made aware of the dangers of working in extreme heat. Tennessee employers who do not take the time to educate their employees may soon find that workers' compensation claims follow when workers become ill or even die. Workers, or their families, who have suffered heat-related illnesses may benefit from consulting an attorney for advice on the filing of such claims.  

Source: ecmweb.com, "OSHA Announces Safety Stand-Down for Heat at Worksites Throughout Southeast", June 23, 2016

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