The phenomenon of heat stress refers to heat received in excess of that which the body can tolerate without physiological impairment. It is one of the major consequences of global warming. By 2030, the equivalent of more than 2 per cent of total working hours worldwide is projected to be lost every year, either because it is too hot to work or because workers have to work at a slower pace. This report shows the impact of heat stress on productivity and decent work for virtually all countries in the world.
Background: Qatar is a major destination country for Nepali migrant workers (NMWs; main age range 25–35 years) in the construction trade. These 120,000+ NMWs are exposed to various occupational hazards, including excessive heat, and 3–4 workers die each week. Our study aimed to show whether heat exposure caused deaths. Methods: The worker population and mortality data of NMWs were retrieved from government institutions in Nepal.
Health surveillance and workplace surveillance are two related but different aspects of occupational health services. The assessment of heat stress using heat indices and thermal models in connection with meteorological data is an important part of surveillance of workplace heat. The assessment of heat exposure provides the basis for occupational health services. Workers should have health surveillance if the high heat stress cannot be reduced.
Along with the higher demand for bias-corrected data for climate impact studies, the number of available data sets has largely increased in recent years. For instance, the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP) constitutes a framework for consistently projecting the impacts of climate change across affected sectors and spatial scales. These data are very attractive for any impact application since they offer worldwide bias-corrected data based on global climate models (GCMs).
Heatwaves are among the most dangerous natural hazards, being associated with considerable effects on the population. Under hot conditions the human body is able to regulate its core temperature via sweat evaporation, but this ability is reduced when the air humidity is very high. These conditions invoke heat stress which, in turn, may cause dehydration, hyperthermia and heat stroke. Heat stress is a major problem for vulnerable groups of the population and also constitutes an important threat for European workers with potential major impacts on workers' health and productivity.
With a view to occupational effects of climate change, we performed a simulation study on the influence of different heat stress assessment metrics on estimated workability (WA) of labour in warm outdoor environments. Whole-day shifts with varying workloads were simulated using as input meteorological records for the hottest month from four cities with prevailing hot (Dallas, New Delhi) or warm-humid conditions (Managua, Osaka), respectively.
It is well established that high ambient heat could cause congenital abnormalities resulting in miscarriage or stillbirth among certain species of mammals. However, this has not been systematically studied in real field settings among humans, despite the potential value of such knowledge for estimating the impact of global warming on the human species.
Increased environmental heat levels as a result of climate change present a major challenge to the health, wellbeing and sustainability of human communities in already hot parts of this planet. This challenge has many facets from direct clinical health effects of daily heat exposure to indirect effects related to poor air quality, poor access to safe drinking water, poor access to nutritious and safe food and inadequate protection from disease vectors and environmental toxic chemicals. The increasing environmental heat is a threat to environmental sustainability.