Illinois employees in all occupations that involve outdoor work or exposure to the UV radiation of the sun may not realize the risk of skin cancer. Such an occupational disease can lead to significant health problems, medical expenses and lost income. It is not only landscapers, postal workers, construction workers and other outdoor workers who are at risk but also drivers who spend many hours exposed to the sun through the side windows of their vehicles.
While using sunscreen and wearing a hat and sunglasses can provide workers some protection, employers have the responsibility to keep workers safe from injury or illness. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers guidelines to show employers how to address sun safety. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, an estimated 8,500 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed nationwide daily.
Occupational skin cancer is almost entirely preventable. Employers can implement comprehensive programs to provide sun protection. It is essential for safety training to include information to teach employees about the dangers of UV radiation and also heat illness. Employers must provide the necessary personal protective equipment to keep workers safe.
Illinois workers who are adversely affected by the sun or summer heat might be entitled to financial relief through the workers' compensation insurance system of the state. Because it is not an injury that occurred on a specific day, proving that skin cancer or another heat-related illness was work-related might be challenging. However, an experienced workers' compensation attorney can provide the necessary support and guidance to ensure a smooth claims process that leads to compensation that covers medical expenses, lost wages and any other benefits allowed.