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How Can I Protect Myself From Heat Stress on the Job in Colorado?

Posted on in Workplace Injury

Larimer County workplace injury attorney heatstroke

Summer is often regarded as the time of year when construction projects peak. Regardless of the type of project, orange barrels and caution cones will be a common sight across the country for the next several months. Although summertime may see many construction projects undertaken in earnest, it is also a time when outdoor workers and laborers face increased risks due to heat-related illnesses. According to Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) magazine, “Productivity decreases by about one percent for every degree the temperature rises above 77 degrees Fahrenheit.” In sweltering 90 degree days, this can lead to substantial reductions in productivity, but also serious heat-related injuries for workers. In Colorado, most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance in the event of a workplace accident. 

What Is Heat Stress?

Extended periods of time in a hot and sunny environment can lead to serious heat-related injuries, which may be exacerbated by heavy gear and equipment, manual labor, lack of airflow, lack of water, and more. Heat-related injuries can range from heat rash to the possibly lethal heatstroke, or sunstroke as it is sometimes called. Between these two lies a variety of other potentially dangerous conditions, and somewhere in the middle of the spectrum lies “heat stress.” Although heat stress itself is an umbrella term for several heat-related injuries, heat stress injuries share many symptoms. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends watching for these common symptoms:

  • Heavy sweating

  • Weakness

  • Muscular cramps or pain

  • Thirst

  • Headache

  • Nausea

  • Dizziness

  • Decreased urine output, or abnormally colored urine

Even though there are other symptoms that may be indicative of heat stress, these are the most common among its various injuries. In order to prevent heat-related incidents, employers should allow workers to take breaks for water, especially those who are laboring in the hot summer weather. Employees who sustain these types of injuries while performing their jobs may secure monetary relief through a workers' compensation claim. These funds can help alleviate the loss of income and medical bills. 

Contact a Larimer County Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

“Employee comfort should not be viewed as a privilege or treated as an afterthought,” according to OH&S. Overexposure to sun or heat while on the job can have lasting—potentially fatal—consequences. If you or someone you know sustained a heat-related injury, a Fort Collins workplace injury attorney knowledgeable in workers’ compensation claims can help you determine if negligence on the part of an employer played a role. Call Hoggatt Law Office, P.C. at 970-225-2190 to schedule your free consultation with our seasoned legal team.

 

Sources:
https://ohsonline.com/articles/2020/06/01/stop-sweating-heat-stress.aspx
https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/heat-stroke-symptoms-and-treatment#1
https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/heatrelillness.html
https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/employers-wc

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Hoggatt Law Office, P.C.

970-225-2190 | 1-800-664-3151

123 North College Avenue, Suite 160,
Fort Collins, CO 80524

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Greeley, Colorado 80634 |
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