We’re used to hot summer days in Atlanta. But even the biggest heat lovers must admit that 2023 has been different. Georgia and the rest of the U.S. have experienced one of the hottest summers on record, with heat waves covering huge swathes of the country for weeks at a time. About a third of the population has been under a heat advisory at some point this season.
For many workers, no avoiding heat exposure
While authorities urge the public to stay inside as much as possible, some jobs cannot be done in an air-conditioned building. Construction workers, agricultural workers, delivery drivers and linemen maintaining the electric grid must spend at least part of their shifts outside, no matter how hot and humid it is. Having to work in punishing heat can expose workers to serious conditions like:
- Heat cramps
- Heat exhaustion
- Heat stroke
Heat exhaustion and lead to heat stroke, a potentially fatal condition if not treated immediately. Sadly, heat exposure kills nearly 40 American workers each year, according to Time. Thousands more survive their heat illness but are left greatly debilitated and in pain.
Safety precautions help but cannot guarantee health
Many companies that employ outdoor workers use safety practices to help prevent heat illness. These include easy and inexpensive steps like providing regular breaks in the shade and cool water to drink. But despite these precautions (which not every employer provides), Atlanta workers are still at risk whenever they must be outside and physically active for long periods during a heat wave. Victims can die or need a long time to recover before they can go back to work.
While recovering from a heat-related or other work injury, you can turn to workers’ compensation to help you afford medical care and more.