There are numerous reasons to fall in love with Florida. It has a no-state income tax policy, fantastic beaches, delectable delicacies, numerous side attractions, and a low cost of living. Florida is also many Americans’ dream state because of its endlessly warm and sunny days. Unfortunately, for workers in Florida, this may translate to increased heat safety hazards requiring a workers’ compensation lawyer’s assistance.
With the Atlantic Ocean and the warm Gulf of Mexico surrounding the state, Florida is the most humid state in America. Sometimes, temperatures can exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit, especially in summer, and create dangerous heat safety hazards for workers. That’s because the mix of heat and humidity makes it difficult for sweat to evaporate and regulate body temperatures.
If you’re an employee in Florida, you deserve comprehensive knowledge of the heat safety hazards you’re exposed to. In this article, you’ll find answers to your questions about work-related heat sicknesses in the state. In addition, if you wish to file a workers’ compensation claim for any of such illnesses resulting from heat safety hazards, a Florida work comp attorney can help.
What Florida Workers Are Most at Risk of Heat-Related Illnesses
According to OSHA, dozens of workers die, and many fall ill due to extreme heat and humidity. The following Florida employees may be more at risk of heat safety hazards than others:
- Construction workers
- Agricultural workers
- Warehouse employees
- Factory workers
These workers have to work outdoors, and as such, expose themselves to the adverse weather conditions. Employees in environments without proper ventilation may also be at high risk of heat-related illnesses. Other at-risk workers include strenuous work, wearing thick protective clothing, and working near hot machinery or fire.
Such endangered workers must prioritize their health and obey specific heat safety regulations and best practices. They should also ensure that their employers provide a safe working environment to reduce their risk of heat-related health complications.
Common Types of Work-Caused Heat-Related Illnesses and Injuries in Florida
The Florida Environmental Public Health Tracking describes an extreme heat event as exposure to hot weather conditions for extended periods. Such an event can harm the victim’s health and require hospitalization. It can also lead to death, especially for people with specific underlying health conditions.
When Florida employees expose themselves to such adverse conditions, they can develop the following heat-related illnesses:
Prolonged UV rays or sun exposure can cause sunburns. Sunburn’s typical symptoms include reddish skin with the possibility of inflammation. They can also be painful and hot to the touch.
Sunburn is self-diagnosable and self-treatable. However, they can increase your risk of dark spots and skin cancer.
The CDC describes heat stroke as the most severe health-related illness, occurring when the body can’t control its temperature anymore. It’s a health emergency and, without urgent medical attention, can cause permanent disability or death. Common heatstroke symptoms include extreme body temperature, coma, profuse sweating, seizures, etc.
Doing strenuous physical labor or heavy exercise in extreme heat can cause muscle spasms or cramps. Heat cramp is the medical term for such a condition. These cramps are painful and may make the muscles jerk involuntarily. Heat cramps may also be a symptom of heatstroke. They commonly occur in the legs, arms, abdomen, and back.
Dehydration occurs when you lose more water than you drink. Asides from inadequate water intake, excessive sweating in hot conditions can cause dehydration. In such situations, your body will not have enough fluid to function properly.
Workers suffering from dehydration will experience dry tongue and mouth, irritability, thirst, lightheadedness, etc. While this condition is quickly treatable by consuming enough fluids, delayed treatment can cause devastating health complications and death.
Heat exhaustion is a result of the body overheating due to exposure to high temperatures and humidity. Common symptoms include low blood pressure upon standing, rapid pulse, excessive sweating, etc.
OSHA’s Safety Guide for Employers
In the aforementioned OSHA safety report, the agency discusses three key ways to protect workers from heat. They are:
Under this rule, Florida employers must provide safe working conditions for their employees by:
- Ensuring they have enough water, rest, and shade
- Helping new employees to build heat tolerance and acclimate to heat conditions gradually
- Monitoring workers for illness signs and planning for emergencies
Speak With Your Florida Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Immediately About Heat Safety Hazards
Are you eligible for a heat-related workers’ compensation claim or lawsuit in Florida? Our Florida Work Injury Rights attorneys can help you get maximum compensation for your loss. Schedule a free consultation with us today; we are only a phone call away.