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California workers ill from heat deserve workers' compensation

Workers in California are likely aware of the potential for dangers in the workplace.  Construction workers know of the need for hard hats, and police officers are aware of the importance of bulletproof vests. However, many outdoor workers may be unaware of the potential for harm from working in the heat. Those suffering from the effects of such an illness may qualify for workers' compensation benefits.

The California division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is working to educate employers of their responsibilities to their workers employed in a position that requires them to spend time outdoors.  The temperature has soared into the triple digits in some areas of California in recent days. As a result, such reminders are not only timely, but could also save a person's life.

According to OSHA regulations, employers are required to provide training on how to prevent potentially fatal heat illnesses. Additionally, employers must provide workers with approximately four glasses of water each hour. Employees must be encouraged to take breaks and have access to shade. Cal/OSHA works with employers to provide training and awareness concerning the issue.

Unfortunately, failure to meet these standards in California could have serious consequences for workers. Heat illnesses can be fatal if symptoms are not recognized and treated in time. While nothing will reduce a family's grief over the unexpected loss of a family member, workers' compensation -- insurance coverage that employers are required by state law to provide for employees -- may help a family cope with the financial ramifications of a fatal workplace illness. Many victims -- including family members in the event of a fatality -- seek the guidance of an experienced professional to help seek the compensation they deserve.

Source: NBC San Diego, "Cal/OSHA Urges Employers to Prevent Heat Illness on the Job", Brie Stimson, Sept. 10, 2015

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