Farm, Construction Worker Injuries Increase with Heat

An Oregon State University study found an association with increasing temperatures and increased rates of injury claims that were more pronounced among workers in the agricultural and construction sectors.

The study analyzed about 92,000 accepted claims and found that the rate of injuries is about 4% higher when the maximum heat index exceeds 75 degrees. The incident ratio for agriculture and construction workers is 14% higher.

When the heat index hits 115 to 119 degrees, the incident rate is 11% higher than the average rate at temperatures of 74 degrees or cooler.

“While it is well understood that agricultural and construction industries have high rates of traumatic injuries, the findings suggest that these industries have gradually higher IRRs as temperatures increases,” the study says. “The question that needs to be investigated is why.”