If you work outside worksites in New York, July and August can bring brutal heat. In construction and other manual labor jobs, crew managers and superiors on a worksite may not always prioritize the safety of workers who perform hard labor in the summer heat. In some cases, the pressure to meet certain project goals on time drives employers to encourage employees toward unsafe work habits.
If you have concerns about the safety of your workspace, you should think carefully about what to do about them. In some cases, simply bringing your concerns to your crew leader or other superior is enough to get the relief you need, but not always.
Many kinds of working conditions can cause serious problems for workers in construction, and may even lead to fairly serious injuries. No matter what you do for a job, you should not face unnecessary risks of injury to help someone else meet their deadline.
Get the help you need first
If you do suffer an injury from overworking in the summer heat, be sure to get professional medical care as soon as possible. If you put it off or decide to "see how it goes," you might make your injury even worse. That means more recovery time, greater risk of permanent injury and more lost pay from days off the job.
After you get the medical attention you need, you can consult with a legal professional to make sure that your workers' compensation claim receives proper attention and to get all the benefits you deserve.
Is heat really that dangerous?
In a word, yes.
Heat can cause serious problems for several parts of your body, depending on the other factors that contribute to your injury. When a person overheats, the body may react in a very extreme way. Remaining in the heat for too long, especially when you are also working hard on the job, can cause damage to your heart or even cause some types of brain damage.
In some cases, especially when you don't drink enough water, getting too hot can lead to kidney problems. In very extreme (but totally possible) cases, overheating can actually kill you.
Your job owes you safe working conditions, no matter what kind of job it is. There is nothing weak or stupid about refusing to work in the heat for longer than you feel safe working. In fact, when you stand up for your rights as a worker, you may find that other workers stand beside you because you had the courage to stand up to poor treatment.
If you need help defending your rights and pursuing fair compensation for a work injury, be sure to seek counsel from a legal professional who understands how to navigate the workers' compensation system here in New York, as well as how to pursue civil suits against an employer.