When extreme heat or extreme cold strikes in the workplace, employees suffer and may need workers’ compensation. Hot or cold temperatures not only make working uncomfortable but can actually injure workers.
How Can Workers Get Injured in the Heat?
Humans are sensitive to extreme temperatures, especially while they are working hard. A very hot workplace – whether outdoors or indoors – could lead to the following problems:
- Heat stroke
- Heat rashes
- Heat exhaustion
- Extreme dehydration
Sometimes workers are affected merely by extreme heat, as in a poorly ventilated warehouse. Other times, people who work outdoors face both heat and strong sunlight. Without proper cooling equipment (air conditioning, fans, hats, and long sleeves, among other things), employees may quickly succumb to heat-related illness. In addition, employees need plenty of water available and the opportunity to take breaks.
How Can Workers Get Injured in the Cold?
The opposite of a warm workplace – one that is very cold – also can lead to problems for workers, including:
- Trench foot
Unlike heat-related illnesses, cold-related illnesses more often strike employees who work outside. This is because buildings tend to insulate workers. While the air may feel cold indoors, hypothermia is unlikely. But a cold indoors work environment could still endanger people with weak immune systems, make people uncomfortable, and lead to higher rates of illness.
Employees suffering from very hot or cold conditions at work could qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. In Minnesota, any employee who suffers an injury arising from and in the course of his or her employment can receive benefits. Injuries include some illnesses, such as those due to extreme temperatures at work.
To receive benefits, you should get an official diagnosis from a doctor and report the injury to your employer. In addition, you may want to push for safer conditions at work – your workplace might violate OSHA rules, or your employer may need to provide more equipment to protect you.
Need help getting workers’ compensation for your injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.