This is a book chapter
This is a book chapter
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.
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.
A number of aspects of human health are caused by, or associated with, local climate conditions, such as heat and cold, rainfall, wind and cloudiness. Any of these aspects of health can also be affected by climate change, and the predicted higher temperatures, changes in rainfall, and more frequent extreme weather conditions will create increased health risks in many workplaces. Important occupational health risks include heat stress effects, injuries due to extreme weather, increased chemical exposures, vector-borne diseases and under-nutrition.
This chapter discusses the role of climate change in increasing workplace heat exposures and the association of human physiology and performance with ambient heat exposure. The clinical effects of heat exposure as well as its economic and well-being impacts are described. Preventive actions are suggested.
This chapter describes the 5 components of heat exposure and effect studies in workplace settings: a descriptive pilot study; heat monitoring studies; exploratory interview surveys; quantitative studies of heat exposure-response relationships; and occupational health and economic impact assessment for local climate change. These components can be carried out separately or in combination and the results of local studies can be used to improve occupational health protection actions and can contribute to the global assessments of climate change impacts.