142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Heat-Related Illness among Louisiana Workers

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Michelle Lackovic, MPH , Section of Environmental Epidemiology and Toxicology, Louisiana Office of Public Health, New Orleans, LA
Adrienne Katner, M.S., D. Env. , Dept. of Environmental and Occupational Health, LSU School of Public Health, New Orleans, LA
Jocelyn Lewis, PhD; MSPH , Section of Environmental Epidemiology and Toxicology, Louisiana Office of Public Health, New Orleans, LA
Vanessa Paul, MPH , Section of Environmental Epidemiology and Toxicology, Louisiana Office of Public Health, New Orleans, LA

Heat stress is an important occupational health issue for Louisiana workers due to the combination of high heat and humidity, and changing climate patterns that will increase the frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves.  Many Louisiana workers at-risk for heat stress because they work outdoors and are employed in physically demanding occupations such as construction, agriculture, landscaping, utilities, and oil/gas exploration and production.


Emergency department and inpatient hospitalization data for a 3-year period (2010-2012) were evaluated. Records were selected if they had a heat-related diagnosis (ICD 992.0-992.9 or Ecode E900.0, E900.1, E900.9) and were work-related (Primary Payer = Workers’ Compensation or Ecode E000.0, E000.1, E800-E807, E830-E838, E840-E845, E846, E849.1-E849.3).  Data were evaluated by race, sex, age, month, day of the week, location, and severity.  Temperature and heat index data were obtained from the NOAA National Data Center.


Preliminary results indicate that annually about 460 workers are treated for heat stress.  The majority of cases are Males age 20-35 years. More cases occur on Wednesday than other days. Expected outcomes include differences in parish rates due to employment patterns and urban environment.


Greater and more frequent extremes of heat are expected due to climate change, putting more outdoor (and possibly indoor) workers at increased risk of heat stress.  Public health systems need to be put into place to track heat stress, investigate serious worker illnesses and fatalities, and educate employers and employees on how to prevent heat illness.

Learning Areas:

Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Describe how to evaluate ED and hospitalization data to characterize workers treated for heat stress. Explain medical conditions and other factors influencing susceptibility to heat stress. List at-risk occupations for heat stress

Keyword(s): Occupational Health and Safety, Data Collection and Surveillance

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the project lead for LA's Occupational Health & Injury Surveillance Program since 2006. In this position, I routinely evaluate large population-based data sets like ED and inpatient hospitalization data. I have been working on the subject of heat stress for the past several years, am co-leading a multi-state worker heat project with other SE states, and am working with our local OSHA office to target workers at risk of heat stress.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.