Many outdoor workers know that working prolonged hours in high heat can have serious or even fatal consequences. But what many do not realize is that many at-fault employers will try to deny blame, largely because NJ labor laws do not specify a need for breaks in extreme temperatures.
Anyone who works or spends continuous hours in extreme heat may suffer heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Heat exhaustion occurs when a person’s temperature rises to the point that the body is unable to cool itself by sweating. If temperature rises so much that sweating stops completely, the body becomes severely dehydrated and overheated, often proving fatal for the worker.
Three common ways New Jersey employees may suffer heatstroke:
- Double shifts. Only a handful of workers’ shift lengths are regulated by New Jersey law, and few take the working conditions of the job into account. As a result, workers may be forced to work consecutive hours in conditions of extreme heat.
- No breaks. Similarly, neither New Jersey labor law nor the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act specifically requires employers to provide breaks during bouts of extreme heat. However, laws do provide for workers whose breaks are less than 20 minutes to be paid during the break period (breaks or lunches longer than 20 minutes may be unpaid time).
- Failed prevention measures. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide protective equipment to workers who labor in extreme heat. However, these regulations are limited to working situations with a constantly-present heat source (such as a commercial kitchen or foundry), and do not include weather-related environmental stress.
Despite these apparent loopholes, there are ways employees can receive workers compensation for heatstroke in New Jersey. If you suffered an injury on the job, experienced New Jersey worker’s compensation attorney Manfred F. Ricciardelli, Jr., can tell you how to get compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. Call (877) 360-0183 today or fill out the contact form above to set up your FREE consultation. Your contact with us is always free, and you owe us nothing unless we win your case.
Need more information on the rights of injured workers in New Jersey? Click the link on this page for a FREE copy of our electronic book, What the Injured Worker Needs to Know: Your Workers Comp Guide.