Summer might feel like it is a long way away, but those higher temperatures will arrive in Illinois soon enough. Warmer weather might even come as a relief to some. Unfortunately, construction workers might not have the same feelings about summer temperatures. Although conversations about workers’ compensation usually revolve around things like physical accidents or repeated motions, heat-related injuries are a real threat to worker safety.
There are a number of different illnesses and injuries caused by the heat. These are things like heat stroke, heat rash, heat cramps and heat exhaustion. Construction workers’ job duties frequently involve engaging in strenuous activities, which significantly increases the likelihood of developing one of these illnesses. Common symptoms include sweaty palms and impaired reasoning ability. Even fogged over safety glasses are an indication that something bad is happening.
Illinois employers should do everything they can to protect their workers from the sun during the warmer months, but many do not follow through. Consider the 815 heat-related deaths from 1992 to 2017, and the 70,000 injuries over the same years. This data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, so it only includes information on reported injuries.
Working in Illinois construction can be very rewarding. But a rewarding career does not equal a safe career. Whether someone was injured in a big accident or because of a heat-related illness, he or she can take the important step of filing for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits often give victims the financial support they need during recovery, which can help them return to the work they find most rewarding.