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Summer heat leads to increase of work-related illness

Workers whose jobs take them outside may find themselves in need of workers' compensation benefits this summer as temperatures hit all-time highs in states across the country, including Colorado. High temperatures may be responsible for cases of work illness this summer as workers struggle to stay cool while working.

Suffering a heat-related injury while at work is similar to sustaining a broken leg in a work accident. In both instances, the worker may be entitled to workers' compensation. However when it comes to the heat, it can be more difficult to prove that the injury was connected to the workplace.

According to OSHA and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some professions can be linked to a higher risk of a heat-related illness for workers. For example, the roofing industry sees the greatest number of heat-related injuries. Close behind are those who handle luggage outside of airports and workers who work with hot materials such as metals.

In general, workers who are outside for most of the day are going to be at risk of suffering a heat-related illness. Road workers and farm workers are also considered more susceptible to these types of injuries.

Workers can't necessarily just stop working because it is hot outside. But OSHA reminds workers that things like staying hydrated and taking breaks can help prevent a heat-related illness or injury. Even spending some time in the shade can help cool a body down.

With one of the hottest summers on the books, both workers and their employers need to be aware of the dangers of the heat. In some extreme situations, the heat has caused fatalities. In fact, in one year more than 30 workers were killed because of the heat.

Source: MSNBC: "Feeling the heat: Most dangerous summer jobs," Eva Tahmincioglu, Aug. 8, 2011.

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