According To An OSU Study, Workplace Injuries In Oregon Increase During Heat Waves

According to a recent Oregon State University study, workers in the agricultural and construction industries experience more catastrophic workplace accidents as the temperature rises.

The study, which was released on September 15, examined worker compensation claims in Oregon from 2009 to 2018 in order to determine how the heat affected the frequency of catastrophic injuries. The OSU research team examined roughly 92,000 injury claims that were made between April 1 and October 31 of each year and involved temporary or permanent impairment or death of the worker.

Researchers looked into how heat and smoke from wildfires affected worker injury rates.

The findings, according to lead author Richard Evoy, supported his initial hypotheses. We anticipated a rise, but not one as sharp as the one we observed, the man claims.

The researchers discovered that when the temperature was over 75 degrees Fahrenheit, worker injuries increased by 15 to 29%. The rates increased further when the heat index was above 90 degrees.

He continues by saying that this data only demonstrates an actual rise in injury rates. They are still unsure as to whether the injuries are specifically due to the higher temperatures.

As the Pacific Northwest continues to face hotter and drier summers, Evoy argues that this research is crucial.

Workplace Injuries In Oregon Increase
Workplace Injuries In Oregon Increase

According to Evoy, “We have shown that rising temperatures will occur across the United States and that extreme heat events pose health hazards.” “Therefore, it’s crucial that we keep researching this to gain more knowledge about how these incidents may affect workers’ lives and health.”

Field workers are seen working on a farm in St. Paul, Oregon, on July 1, 2021. Ernst Nursery and Farms was the site of a heat fatality the previous weekend during temperatures that broke records there. The historic 2021 heat wave that roasted the Pacific Northwest and broke all-time temperature records in normally temperate cities may have been to blame for hundreds of fatalities in Canada, Oregon, and Washington.

Evoy claims that there is still more research needed to determine the effects of wildfire smoke. Workers in construction and agriculture, who spend a lot of time outdoors, had a higher incidence of traumatic injuries.

In order to support workers during seasons of intense heat and wildfire smoke, Oregon established additional regulations this year that include breaks and training.

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