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Know your rights in California when working in the heat

Many Californians have occupations that require them to work outdoors. In our state, blistering sun and high temperatures aren't limited to the summer. Workers can face them many months out of the year.

A common danger for outdoor workers is heat stress, which can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke and a number of heat-related illnesses. They can strike anyone. However, people who are obese, have heart conditions or other medical issues can be particularly susceptible to them.

If someone suffers one of these heat-related conditions while working, it can be more challenging to successfully seek workers' compensation than it might be if someone had suffered an injury. However, it is possible.

Heat stroke, while all too common among people who work outdoors, should not be considered an acceptable risk of the job. There are steps that employers can, and in states including California, are legally required to take to help lower the risk of suffering heat stroke and other heat illnesses.

In California, employers are required to do the following:

-- Develop and abide by written procedures regarding compliance with the Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention Standard.

-- Ensure access to a shady area where workers are able to rest for at least five minutes, and encourage them to rest before they begin to feel sick.

-- Provide employees with enough fresh water that each person can drink a quart every hour, and encourage them to consume at least this much water.

-- Make sure that all supervisors and employees are trained in how to prevent heat illnesses.

Too often, if someone files a workers' compensation claim for a heat-related illness, employers argue that an underlying or pre-existing condition, and not their job conditions, caused it. However, employees can seek workers' compensation if any illness or injury was triggered or aggravated by their working conditions.

It's essential to find out what your rights to compensation are. An experienced California workers' compensation attorney can provide information, guidance and support.

Source: FindLaw, "Can I Get Worker's Comp For Heat Stroke?," Le Trinh, Esq., accessed July 05, 2017

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