Occupational heat illness in Washington State, 1995–2005

Authors

  • David Bonauto MD, MPH,

    Corresponding author
    1. Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) Program, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, Olympia, Washington
    • Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) Program, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, P.O. Box 44330, Olympia, Washington 98504-4330.
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  • Robert Anderson CIH, CSP, MSPH,

    1. Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) Program, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, Olympia, Washington
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  • Edmund Rauser PE,

    1. Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) Program, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, Olympia, Washington
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  • Brian Burke MD

    1. Cascade Occupational Medicine, Tualatin, Oregon
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Abstract

Background

Little information exists describing the incidence of heat-related illness (HRI) among non-military working populations. An analysis of HRI cases utilizing workers' compensation data has not been previously reported.

Methods

We used both ICD-9 and ANSI Z16.2 codes with subsequent medical record review to identify accepted Washington State Fund workers' compensation claims for HRI over the 11-year time period from 1995–2005.

Results

There were 480 Washington workers' compensation claims for HRI during the 11-year study period. NAICS industries with the highest workers' compensation HRI average annual claims incidence rate were Fire Protection 80.8/100,000 FTE, Roofing Construction 59.0/100,000 FTE, and Highway, Bridge and Street Construction 44.8/100,000 FTE. HRI claims were associated with high outdoor ambient temperatures. Medical risk factors for HRI were present in some cases.

Conclusions

HRI cases occur in employed populations. HRI rates vary by industry and are comparable to those previously published for the mining industry. Am. J. Ind. Med. 50:940–950, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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