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Heat safety for workers still a concern as summer winds down

With summer coming to a close, many New Jersey residents are looking forward to cooler temperatures. But the Bureau of Labor Statistics reminds some workers that they should still be aware of the dangers of heat exposure while working through the remaining warm weather months.

According to the BLS, heat exposure contributed to 2,830 nonfatal workplace injuries and 37 worker deaths across the U.S. in 2015. Thirty-three of those deaths happened between the months of June and September.

Transportation and material-moving workers accounted for 720 nonfatal injuries and illnesses that caused lost work days. The states with the highest rates of nonfatal injuries and illnesses were Kansas, South Carolina and Nebraska. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration advises workers and employers about working safely in the heat through its 'Water. Rest. Shade." safety campaign. Tips from the campaign include rest breaks in shady areas, drinking water every 15 minutes, wearing a hat, wearing clothing that is light in color and watching out for co-workers' signs of heat stress.

Workers can also utilize a mobile app for heat safety. OSHA along with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health designed the app, which provides projections of local heat indices.

Most of the nonfatal heat-related work injuries in 2015 did not involve days lost from work, according to the statistics from the BLS. When a worker has an accident that requires a trip to the emergency room or doctor's office, medication or other medical treatment, workers' compensation benefits could cover the cost even if the worker returns to work immediately after treatment. An attorney can explain the procedures involved in filing a claim.

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