Atlanta experienced record heat levels in the summer of 2022. The excessive heat and humidity meant Georgia construction workers were at exceptionally high risk for heat injuries. Construction workers made up more than one-third of heat-related deaths over the past few decades, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim for a Heat Injury
Georgia employers are responsible for ensuring their employees are safe when working in hot weather conditions. Anyone working outside, especially those performing heavy physical work, is at higher risk of work-related heat injury.
It’s essential to take breaks regularly to get out of the heat and to hydrate. Water is the best choice since sugary or alcoholic beverages increase the risk of dehydration. New employees will need time to get used to working outdoors, and employers should allow them to take more frequent breaks.
Examples of Work-related Heat Injuries
- Heat Rash. This is a relatively mild heat-related condition. Also known as “prickly heat,” it looks like a fine red rash. Most of the time, the symptoms disappear once the affected person has a chance to cool off. Diabetes patients risk developing a skin infection if the rash lingers.
- Heat Cramps. Heat cramps occur after the end of the average workday. The cramping is caused by the loss of too much salt and water during the day from heavy sweating.
- Heat Exhaustion. Early symptoms of heat exhaustion are weakness, dizziness, and fatigue. Affected people may also experience extreme thirst; the body is trying to compensate for dehydration. Nausea and headaches may also be symptoms of heat exhaustion.
- Heatstroke. This is a severe heat-related injury that requires immediate medical attention. The affected person’s body can’t stay cool enough to function correctly. They may stop sweating or appear confused. As the heatstroke progresses, the person may have seizures and lose consciousness.
A worker who experiences heat exhaustion or heatstroke at work may file a workers’ compensation claim for time away from work to recover at home or in the hospital.
Potential Benefits From a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Workers who have sustained a heat-related injury need to understand that it is the employer’s responsibility to prevent heat injuries on the job. The employer may blame the employee by saying the employee didn’t take advantage of the break times available or rest often enough. The employer may even state the employee must have had a pre-existing condition that led to heat exhaustion or heatstroke.
Employees can file a workers’ compensation claim to help cover the cost of their medical bills and lost wages due to their work-related injuries.
How a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help
If you’ve been injured at work, you may have questions about your workers’ compensation claim and the benefits you are eligible to receive. The helpful lawyers at Rechtman & Spevak have the experience to assist workers’ compensation clients. Our skilled legal team will answer your questions and help you fight for the benefits you deserve.
Contact our Atlanta law office today at 404-355-2688 to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation.