A recent study was released about a specific hazard kitchen workers in New York face every day. While numerous types of accidents can result in these employees suffering injuries, this study specifically went into detail about exposure to intense heat levels. Just as those who work outdoors may suffer heat-related illnesses or injuries, so can those who work indoors. When such illnesses or injuries occur, workers’ compensation claims may be filed to seek relief for any resulting losses.
Researchers at City University of New York’s Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy examined the effects of excessive heat on public school kitchen workers in particular. Their findings can be applied to similar work in other settings, however. When conducting the study, the researchers looked at the effects of light, moderate and heavy-duty work-rate scenarios, as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. They found that, at 80% of schools, employee work-rate exceeded the heavy-duty action limit; at 60% of schools, employee work rate exceeded the moderate action limit, and at 10% of schools, employee work rate was above light action limit.
As a result of these findings, it is suggested that those who employ kitchen workers do their best to ensure their staff is receiving adequate breaks during their shifts. It is also suggested that any feasible improvements that can be made to kitchen areas to limit heat exposure be completed. Finally, researchers also recommended that new administrative controls be put in place to help limit heat-related injuries or illness.
Will the results of this study help improve working conditions for kitchen workers in New York? Only time will tell. Even if improvements are implemented, some employees are still likely to suffer illness or injury due to frequent exposure to excessive heat. Those who do may find it difficult to access workers’ compensation benefits to cover their losses. With the assistance of legal counsel, maximum relief may be achieved.