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Workers' compensation for heat illnesses and injuries

The temperature might still be cool, but warmer months are just around the corner. While some people might look forward to warm weather, construction workers have to worry about their own safety. These workers frequently spend their summers working outside, often without adequate protection from the sun. Heat-related illnesses can develop very quickly in this type of situation. What workers might not realize is that workers' compensation can help.

Some common heat-related illnesses include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rash. Prolonged exposure to heat is enough to cause these illnesses, but construction workers do face a unique risk. Engaging in strenuous labor or work-related activities increases the risk of succumbing to a heat illness.

Workers are dying because of this. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, heat-related illnesses and injuries killed around 815 workers from 1992 to 2017. Another 70,000 were injured during that same period of time. Although workers should understand the symptoms and signs of heat illnesses -- like dizziness and sweaty palms -- by the time those symptoms show up the damage is already done.

Construction workers face a seemingly endless number of risks each and every day, many of which involve serious physical harm. This makes it easy to overlook the risks that are not associated with heavy machinery or dangerous equipment. However, it does not excuse New York employers from meeting their ongoing obligation to protect their workers. So whether someone is injured by the heat or a serious accident, workers' compensation benefits can be critical for recovery.

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