New OSU Study Reveals Outdoor Workers More Likely to Suffer Traumatic Injuries in Hot Weather

Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Oct 10, 2022 in Labor and Employment

A recent study conducted by Oregon State University (OSU) has revealed that the likelihood of suffering a traumatic injury while working outdoors increases drastically when temperatures are high. The new research is significant for people working in the Oregon construction and agricultural sectors, but it affects anyone whose job duties must be performed outdoors.

Working outside exposes you to environmental factors that do not affect people who work indoors, putting you at an increased risk of suffering a workplace injury. If you or someone you care about has been injured while working outdoors in Oregon, you could be entitled to recoup expenses for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. A Rizk Law workplace injury attorney can fight for your right to the maximum monetary settlement allowable for your particular case.

What Outdoor Workers in Oregon Need to Know About the New OSU Injury Study

During the OSU study, researchers reviewed almost 92,000 Oregon workplace injury claims involving temporary disability, permanent injury, or death while working outdoors. The claims they examined were pulled from Oregon workers’ compensation statistics between 2009 and 2018.

OSU researchers compared injury records and local meteorological data to assess workers’ heat exposure by measuring humidity levels and temperature. They concentrated on injuries occurring between April and October, where the average heat index was over 55 degrees.

The study concludes that when compared to periods of more temperate weather (65 degrees or less), outdoor workers are more likely to suffer traumatic injuries on days when the heat index reaches 75 degrees or higher. The effects worsen when the heat index climbs over 90 degrees, where the injury risk reaches 19-29% over baseline.

Types of Injuries Outdoor Workers Could Suffer in Oregon

People who work outside in the Oregon heat are at risk of occupational accidents, such as those caused by:

  • Fogged safety glasses
  • Sweaty hands
  • Dehydration
  • Exhaustion
  • Overexertion
  • Reduced mental capacity
  • Overheated machinery

Heat-related accidents could result in workplace injuries such as:

  • Heat cramps
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Heat rashes
  • Heat stroke
  • Heat syncope
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Amputation
  • Concussion
  • Broken bones
  • Cuts or puncture wounds
  • Burns
  • Electrical injuries
  • Crush injuries

This OSU research into occupational safety hazards during high temperatures highlights the importance of providing outdoor workers with substantial safety protections, especially as the climate continues to evolve and temperatures continue to rise.

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health division has recently implemented new standards concerning excessive heat stress. When the heat index surpasses 80 degrees, employers are now legally obligated to offer workers the following:

  • Access to shade
  • Drinking water
  • A specific work-rest schedule
  • Several other safety measures

Contact an Oregon Workplace Injury Attorney for Outdoor Heat Exposure Accidents

If you or someone you care about was hurt or killed while working outside in Oregon, you could be eligible to recover compensation for your damages. A Rizk Law occupational injury lawyer can comprehensively investigate your workplace accident to determine which parties could be held responsible for the losses you have suffered.

For a free review of your particular case, contact a Rizk Law attorney by calling (503) 245-5677 or completing our convenient online contact form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.