Waltham, MA, May 9, 2024 ―With U.S. officials bracing for another summer of dangerous heat, a new study from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) found important effects of excessive heat on the incidence of occupational injuries.

“The study found the probability of work-related accidents increases by 5 to 6 percent when the maximum daily temperature rises above 90°F, relative to a day with temperatures in the 65–70°F range. The effect is stronger in the South and for construction workers. Also, the effect of excessive heat is greater on traumatic injuries, including fractures, dislocations, contusions, and lacerations,” said Ramona Tanabe, President and CEO of WCRI.

The main goal of the study, Impact of Excessive Heat on the Frequency of Work-Related Injuries, is to measure the extent to which excessive heat has increased the incidence of work-related injuries in recent years by considering injuries like heat exhaustion as well as accidents like falling off a ladder on a hot day. It also answers the following questions:

  • Is there variation in how excessive heat increases the frequency of work-related accidents in various regions of the country?
  • How does excessive heat affect worker populations in a more diverse set of climates than in just a specific state?
  • Is the effect of excessive heat on the frequency of injuries greater in certain industries and on certain injury types?

This study uses claims data and weather data from 2016 to 2021 across 24 states. The study’s findings can inform public policy debates on the importance of preventing the effects of excessive heat.

For more information on this study or to download a copy, visit www.wcrinet.org. The study is authored by Sebastian Negrusa, Olesya Fomenko, and Vennela Thumula.

About WCRI

The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) is an independent, not-for-profit research organization based in Waltham, MA. Organized in late 1983, the Institute does not take positions on the issues it researches; rather, it provides information obtained through studies and data collection efforts that conform to recognized scientific methods. Objectivity is further ensured through rigorous, unbiased peer review procedures. WCRI's diverse membership includes employers, insurers, government entities, managed care companies, health care providers, insurance regulators, labor organizations, and state administrative agencies in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

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