“Too hot” working environments are not just a question of “comfort”, but a real concern for health protection and ability to perform work tasks. For un-acclimatized persons, already at temperatures above 22.5 degrees C the ability to perform at full capacity is reduced, and for acclimatized persons this reduction starts at 26 degrees C (WBGT). The reduction in work ability can be considered a form of “disability” that should be taken into account when assessing the “burden of disease or ill health” caused by global warming.
The rapid rise in extreme heat events in Australia recently is already taking a health toll. Climate change scenarios predict increases in the frequency and intensity of extreme heat events in the future, and population health may be significantly compromised for people who cannot reduce their heat exposure. Exposure to extreme heat presents a health hazard to all who are physically active, particularly outdoor workers and indoor workers with minimal access to cooling systems while working.
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.
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.