The Louisiana Department of Health will receive $1.2 million over five years to protect Louisiana workers and communities from extreme heat.

The work will be done through a grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).

The funding, according to the LDH, will be used to collaborate with local climate agencies, research centers and community organizations to access, analyze and interpret climate and health data; provide training and education on heat and health risks, and build climate adaptation and resilience in Louisiana communities.

According to the LDH, climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme heat events.

They report that Louisiana has some of the most at-risk workers in the country due to high heat and humidity, a high percentage of workers employed in outdoor and physically demanding jobs, frequent natural disasters, and high levels high levels of poverty and other social inequalities.

During periods of high heat, Louisianans who work outdoors or indoors without adequate air conditioning risk being exposed to dangerous heat that can cause heat exhaustion, heat stroke, injury, multiple organ failure and, in extreme cases, death.

According to LDH, heat exposure is the leading cause of death among all weather phenomena.

“Extreme heat also leads to loss of productivity and work capacity. These health and economic impacts have a huge impact on workers, their families and their communities,” a statement read.

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