If you do not work outside under the sun, like gardeners or laborers, you might believe you are safe from developing a heat-related illness. However, construction workers, factory workers, bakers, and firefighters can also be exposed to dangerous levels of heat. Becoming overheated can come with serious consequences. Some illnesses like heat stroke can cause permanent disability or death if the person does not get immediate medical care.
To make matters worse, these employees often work for employers who have opted out of workers’ compensation. Fortunately, they can still obtain compensation from their non-subscriber employers under Texas law if they suffer from heat-related illnesses and can prove the employer was negligent in not providing a safe work environment.
Is Your Employer Taking These Steps to Keep You Cool?
Heat-related illnesses can be prevented even if the temperature exceeds 90 degrees, as it often does in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Employers simply need to follow common sense safety measures. Some of these measures include:
- Give workers time to adjust. In general, a worker will need about three weeks to adjust to warmer conditions. Employers need to arrange the workload accordingly.
- Plan ahead. Employers should schedule heavy work on cooler days or during the coolest parts of hot days—even when workers work inside.
- Reduce the workload. When the weather is hottest, employers should consider using machinery whenever possible that can reduce employees’ heavy labor workloads.
- Set rest breaks. Workers must be given sufficient breaks where they can get out of the heat to cool down and hydrate.
- Train workers. Employers must educate employees on the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and first aid measures they should take if a fellow worker needs assistance.
- Choose appropriate workers. Workers who are at higher risk of developing heat-related illnesses like those with heart or lung diseases or diabetes should not be placed in extreme heat conditions.
Did you or a family member suffer a heat-related illness at work because your non-subscriber employer did not follow these steps? We urge you to contact us as soon as possible to not miss the time period to sue your employer. Start an online chat with our experienced legal team to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can assist you.