Extreme summer heat continues to be a problem in much of the country, including California. It is well known that prolonged exposure to high temperatures can result in serious workplace illness. Exposure to high temperatures was responsible for the death of at least 783 workers in the United States, and over 70,000 suffered heat related injuries between the years of 1992 - 2016.
While there are no national standards or precautions in place for dealing with the extreme heat, in 2005, California became the first state in the country to impose such standards. These regulations mandate rest, water and shade breaks for outdoor workers. More hot weather is forecast for parts of California, and precautions should be taken to protect workers exposed to the heat.
While the current state heat safety standards apply to only outdoor workers, standards for indoor workers should be in place in January of 2019. Heat related illnesses are also prevalent among food production workers who work in processing and warehouse facilities. Most of those issues stem from a lack of ventilation.
Workers and employers in California should strive to inform and be informed concerning the dangers of heat exposure. However, with the current high temperatures being experienced, heat-related workplace illness may still occur. If a person experiences an illness that may be related to heat exposure, he or she may want to speak with a workers' compensation attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer can review the employee's case and advise him or her as to what legal avenues may be open to one.