Heat, Human Performance, and Occupational Health: A Key Issue for the Assessment of Global Climate Change Impacts

Annual Review Public Health 2016. 37:97–112
Ambient heat exposure is a well-known health hazard, which reduces human performance and work capacity at heat levels already common in tropical and subtropical areas. Various health problems have been reported. Increasing heat exposure during the hottest seasons of each year is a key feature of global climate change. Heat exhaustion and reduced human performance are often overlooked in climate change health impact analysis. Later this century, many among the four billion people who live in hot areas worldwide will experience significantly reduced work capacity owing to climate change. In some areas, 30–40% of annual daylight hours will become too hot for work to be carried out. The social and economic impacts will be considerable, with global gross domestic product (GDP) losses greater than 20% by 2100. The analysis to date is piecemeal. More analysis of climate change-related occupational health impact assessments is greatly needed.
Tord Kjellstrom, David Briggs, Chris Freyberg, Bruno Lemke, Matthias Otto, Olivia Hyatt