health economics

Heat stress causes substantial labour productivity loss in Australia

Zander KK, Botzen WJW, Oppermann E, Kjellstrom T, Garnett ST

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.