Extreme Heat Leads To More Workplace Injuries In New York
Hotter weather may be good for a day at the beach, but for New York workers, the rise in temperatures often means more illnesses and injuries. When the temperature hits 85 degrees, New York City workers are 7% more likely to be injured in the workplace. When temps reach 95 degrees, the likelihood of an accident rises to 8%, according to an analysis of hundreds of thousands of workers’ compensation claims filed with the state Workers’ Compensation Board between May and September over the course of 20 years — from 2002 to 2022.
The data showed that since 2002, 420 injuries in New York City were explicitly attributed to heat since 2002. However, the official count of incidents showed that, since 2015, an additional 3,681 injuries happened on days between May and September where the temperatures exceeded 85 degrees.
Why are hotter temperatures such an issue? Heat stresses the body. This can lead to heart and lung conditions, causing illnesses and even fatalities. Only a few states have laws to protect workers in extreme heat. New York is not one of them.
Construction workers see the most dramatic increases in injuries as the temperature climbs. On days where the temperatures exceed 85 degrees, the likelihood of injuries increases by more than 20%. But high temperatures do not solely affect outdoor workers. Workers in warehousing, waste management, manufacturing and food services also see increases in risk of an accident by 13% to 18%.
Construction workers say working in hot weather is difficult. Dealing with the heat is horrible. Workers have to constantly drink water and then use the restroom because of all the water. Workers tend to slow down and get exhausted easily, so they need to rest more often in order to avoid accidents.
Workers in hotter temperatures are more likely to experience heat strokes. They may also faint or pass out, suffer electric shock, or get lacerations.
No Heat Standards
Only seven states — California, Oregon, Nevada, Washington Colorado, Minnesota, and Maryland — have heat standards in place. New York does not have any standards in place, but a bill may change that. The TEMP Act — which stands for Temperature Extreme Mitigation Program — would propose mandatory protections for people who work in construction, landscaping, agriculture, warehousing, shipping, and food service. The bill would help avoid financial and physical strain on workers and their employers.
Worker protections would kick in when the temperature hits 80 degrees. Protections would escalate at 95 degrees. Employers would be required to provide water, breaks, shade, and protective gear. They would also have to conduct training sessions and develop plans for addressing heat stress.
Contact Us for More Information About Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Whether you have suffered injuries or illnesses due to extreme weather conditions, the employer is liable. You should be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Get the compensation you need with help from a White Plains workers’ compensation lawyer from The Law Office of Michael Lawrence Varon. We can help you fight for your benefits and review any necessary documentation. To schedule a free initial consultation, fill out the online form or call (914) 228-1770.