One feature of climate change is the increasing heat exposure in many workplaces where efficient cooling systems cannot be applied. Excessive heat exposure is a particular problem for working people because of the internal heat production when muscle work is carried out. The physiological basis for severe heat stroke, other clinical effects, and heat exhaustion is well known. One feature of this health effect of excessive workplace heat exposure is reduced work capacity, and new research has started to quantify this effect in the context of climate change.
Developed in collaboration with the ILO, the International Organization for Migration, UNI Global Union, the International Trade Union Confederation, the International Organization of Employers, and ACT Alliance, and together with the Climate Vulnerable Forum and the support of the the World Health Organisation, this report looks at the impact of rising temperatures due to climate change on the workforce.
First paragraph of book chapter: The human body has behavioural and physical mechanisms that work to maintain its core temperature at about 37°C. If the body’s internal temperature rises above this level, then body systems and vital physiological functions are compromised, and in severe cases, death can result. The climatic conditions relevant to such heat stress may be measured in terms of the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT), which takes account of temperature, humidity, wind speed, and solar radiation.1 We calculate WBGT for in-shade (no
Summary Extreme heat induced by climate change will cause profound adverse consequences for work, human performance, daily life, and the economy in large parts of the world. The increasing temperatures are the most predictable effects of climate change, and all models of future trends show significant increase this century. The heat problems will become even worse in the next one or two centuries, depending on the global climate policies established this year. The global areas worst affected by extreme heat will be tropical countries,
The earth's climate is changing and increasing ambient heat levels are emerging in large areas of the world. An important cause of this change is the anthropogenic emission of greenhouse gases. Climate changes have a variety of negative effects on health, including cardiac health. People with pre-existing medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease (including heart failure), people carrying out physically demanding work and the elderly are particularly vulnerable.
Heat stress at the workplace is an occupational health hazard that reduces labour productivity. Assessment of productivity loss resulting from climate change has so far been based on physiological models of heat exposure. These models suggest productivity may decrease by 11–27% by 2080 in hot regions such as Asia and the Caribbean, and globally by up to 20% in hot months by 2050. Using an approach derived from health economics, we describe self-reported estimates of work absenteeism and reductions in work performance caused by heat in Australia during 2013/2014.
This is a book chapter
Occupational heat exposure threatens the health of a worker not only when heat illness occurs but also when a worker’s performance and work capacity is impaired. Occupational contexts that involve hot and humid climatic conditions, heavy physical workloads and/or protective clothing create a strenuous and potentially dangerous thermal load for a worker. There are recognized heat prevention strategies and international thermal ergonomic standards to protect the worker.