Climate CHIP Publications

Excessive occupational heat exposure: a significant ergonomic challenge and health risk for current and future workers

Authors: 
Lucas RAI, Epstein Y, Kjellstrom T
Year: 
2014

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.

Current and Future Heat Stress in Nicaraguan Work Places under a Changing Climate

Authors: 
Sheffield PE, Herrera JG, Lemke B, Kjellstrom T, Romero LE
Year: 
2013

While climate change continues to increase ambient temperatures, the resulting heat stress exposure to workers in non-climate controlled settings is not well characterized, particularly in low and middle income countries. This preliminary report describes current heat stress in Nica-raguan work places and estimates occupational heat stress in 2050. From over 400 measurements of heat exposure using wet bulb globe temperature, more than 10% of all measurements exceeded the safety threshold for the combination of light work and rest at the ratio of 25:75.

Current and future heat stress in Nicaraguan work places under a changing climate.

Authors: 
Sheffield PE, Herrera JGR, Lemke B, Kjellstrom T, Romero LEB
Year: 
2013

While climate change continues to increase ambient temperatures, the resulting heat stress exposure to workers in non-climate controlled settings is not well characterized, particularly in low and middle income countries. This preliminary report describes current heat stress in Nicaraguan work places and estimates occupational heat stress in 2050. From over 400 measurements of heat exposure using wet bulb globe temperature, more than 10% of all measurements exceeded the safety threshold for the combination of light work and rest at the ratio of 25:75.

Mapping Occupational Heat Exposure and Effects in South-East Asia: Ongoing Time Trends 1980−2011 and Future Estimates to 2050

Authors: 
Kjellstrom T, Lemke B, Otto M
Year: 
2013

A feature of climate impacts on occupational health and safety are physiological limits to carrying out physical work at high heat exposure. Heat stress reduces a workers work capacity, leading to lower hourly labour productivity and economic output. We used existing weather sta-tion data and climate modeling grid cell data to describe heat conditions (calculated as Wet Bulb Globe Temperature, WBGT) in South-East Asia.

Heat Exposure, Cardiovascular Stress and Work Productivity in Rice Harvesters in India: Implications for a Climate Change Future

Authors: 
Sahu S, Sett M, Kjellstrom T
Year: 
2013

Excessive workplace heat exposures create well-known risks of heat stroke, and it limits the workers' capacity to sustain physical activity. There is very limited evidence available on how these effects reduce work productivity, while the quantitative relationship between heat and work productivity is an essential basis for climate change impact assessments. We measured hourly heat exposure in rice fields in West Bengal and recorded perceived health problems via interviews of 124 rice harvesters. In a sub-group (n = 48) heart rate was recorded every minute in a standard work situation.

Occupational health and safety impacts of climate conditions

Authors: 
Kjellstrom T, Lemke B, Venugopal V. In: Pielke R.
Year: 
2013

Climate conditions in workplaces are occupational health hazards that need to be taken into account when assessing population vulnerability to climate conditions and climate changes. Very cold as well as very hot work environments can create thermal stress beyond what human physiology can cope with. All human populations have a normal core body temperature in the range 36–37 °C, and even a few degrees higher or lower body temperature, due to surrounding climate conditions, can lead to serious health effects.

Climate change threats to population health and well-being: the imperative of protective solutions that will last

Authors: 
Tord Kjellstrom, Anthony J. McMichael
Year: 
2013

The observational evidence of the impacts of climate conditions on human health is accumulating. A variety of direct, indirect, and systemically mediated health effects have been identified. Excessive daily heat exposures create direct effects, such as heat stroke (and possibly death), reduce work productivity, and interfere with daily household activities. Extreme weather events, including storms, floods, and droughts, create direct injury risks and follow-on outbreaks of infectious diseases, lack of nutrition, and mental stress. Climate change will increase these direct health effects.

Climate change and occupational health and safety in a temperature climate: Potential impacts and research priorities in Quebec, Canada

Authors: 
Adam-Poupart A, Labrèche F, Smargiassi A, Duguay P, Busque MA, Gagné C, Rintamäki H, Kjellstrom T, Zayed J.
Year: 
2013

The potential impacts of climate change (CC) on Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) have been studied a little in tropical countries, while they received no attention in northern industrialized countries with a temperate climate. This work aimed to establish an overview of the potential links between CC and OHS in those countries and to determine research priorities for Quebec, Canada. A narrative review of the scientific literature (2005-2010) was presented to a working group of international and national experts and stakeholders during a workshop held in 2010.

Association between heat stress and occupational injury among Thai workers: findings of the Thai Cohort Study

Authors: 
Tawatsupa B, Yiengprugsawan V, Kjellstrom T, Berecki-Gisolf J, Sebsman SA, Sleigh A
Year: 
2013

Global warming will increase heat stress at home and at work. Few studies have addressed the health consequences in tropical low and middle income settings such as Thailand. We report on the association between heat stress and workplace injury among workers enrolled in the large national Thai Cohort Study in 2005 (N=58,495).