Federal agencies Heat stress Workplace exposures

BLS: Heat exposure killed 37 workers in 2015

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Washington – Environmental heat exposure should remain a concern even as summer winds down, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is reminding employers and employees.

In a post published in the Aug. 30 edition of The Economics Daily, BLS highlighted data showing that environmental heat exposure contributed to 37 work-related deaths and 2,830 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in 2015. Nearly 90 percent (33) of the deaths occurred from June through September.

Workers in transportation and material moving occupations were involved in 720 of the nonfatal injury and illness cases involving days away from work. Among states, Kansas had the highest rate of nonfatal injuries and illnesses, at 1.3 per 10,000 workers. South Carolina (1.0) and Nebraska (0.6) followed.

OSHA provides resources for employers and employees about the dangers of working in hot weather through its Water. Rest. Shade. campaign. The agency offers tips to help prevent heat-related illnesses and fatalities:

  • Drink water every 15 minutes.
  • Take rest breaks in the shade to cool down.
  • Wear a hat and light-colored clothing.
  • Monitor co-workers for any signs of problems.

NIOSH and OSHA also collaborated on a heat safety mobile app that measures heat index values and provides projected heat indices throughout the workday.

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