New Study Shows Hotter Weather Increases Workplace Injuries

BY: Koszdin | Thursday, September 16, 2021.

California saw its hottest temperatures ever recorded this summer, and with this surge in thermometer mercury, the risk for injury to California workers also rose. According to a new study, the correlation between hot temperatures and accidents causing workplace injuries has been vastly undercounted in previous official records.

The California workers’ compensation system is designed to help those in need, both medically and financially. Unfortunately, all too often, insurance carriers or employers work against you receiving the compensation you desperately need. The Los Angeles workers comp attorneys at Koszdin, Fields & Sherry are here to get you the help you need.

Is It Getting Hot in Here?

This recent study was conducted by researchers at UCLA and Stanford and published by the Institute of Labor Economics. Compiled from 18 years of claims from California’s workers’ compensation system, the claims were compared to daily temperature data.

Results indicate days with temperatures in the 90-to-99-degree range led to more workplace injuries, increasing as much as 9%. On days reaching 100 degrees and above, claims increased to as much as 15%.

Previous research focused on outdoor workers in hotter climates, like agriculture and construction, but this study revealed the accident frequency for indoor workers was also affected by high temperatures. Employees in manufacturing, warehousing, and wholesale all saw increased claims during hotter days.

The typical heat-associated injuries, like heat sickness or exhaustion, were not the only injuries increasing. Workers were also more likely to suffer from incidents like:

  • Falls
  • Being hit by moving vehicles
  • Mishandling dangerous machinery

Researchers suggest increased heat may impair abilities like decision-making. The data also revealed a greater risk of injury for men and younger workers in both settings.

Previous data estimated about 850 injuries were classified to be caused by extreme heat annually. However, when all injuries are correlated with rising temperatures, the new annual tally adds about 20,000 workplace injuries, resulting in an estimated cost of $1 billion to workers, employers, and California.

This study adds to other research linking hotter climates to negative impacts on people. A Texas study found similar results concerning on-the-job injuries and heat, and a New York study illustrated heat affecting students negatively while taking exams.

Regulations protecting outdoor workers were put in place over a decade ago. Similar regulations for indoor workers have been proposed by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. The application of these rules has been repeatedly delayed.

When should I contact a lawyer?

The workers’ compensation laws in California are designed to cover the employees working in the state. If an employee suffers from a job-related accident, an injury, or illness, they are entitled to certain benefits. Despite the state’s intention of taking care of its workers, sometimes employers and workers’ comp insurance providers refuse to honor these intentions.

If you or a loved one have received resistance from an employer or an insurer after a workplace injury, the Los Angeles workers compensation attorneys at Koszdin, Fields & Sherry are ready to put our extensive experience to work in getting you the compensation you are entitled.

Contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling 800-747-3447.

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