California is a hot state, and workplaces can be even hotter depending on the industry. It’s important for all workplaces to account for the environment to keep their employees comfortable. Too much heat exposure can result in serious injuries and potentially death from heat-related illnesses.
On June 5, a report about California’s workers stated that the current governor signed a bill in September that requires California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health to adopt standards to protect indoor workers from the hazard of heat-related injuries. On top of that, the state also lowered its threshold for outdoor exposure to 80 degrees, helping keep people out of blistering hot temperatures to prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
California began efforts to address indoor heat in workplaces when a worker fell ill while clearing out shipping containers in 2011. The worker had to be hospitalized and suffered from heat stroke. Today, there are requirements in place to help prevent incidents like that.
Some of the requirements now include providing training on recognizing heat illnesses, giving workers water breaks and cool-down breaks in areas away from the heat and limiting heat exposure on the whole. Employers now have to measure for heat and humidity, which can impact how well workers cool down.
In your workplace, if you suffer heat exhaustion or heat stroke as a result of high heat exposure, you can seek medical help. When you do, it should be covered by your company’s workers’ compensation policy. You need to file a claim through your employer to take advantage of your right to workers’ compensation.
If your employer does not want to file the claim for some reason or does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you can still pursue compensation through other routes. Your attorney can help you seek out what you’re owed through the correct legal channels.