June 14, 2024
Exploring the Impact of Climate Change on Worker Health and Safety

Exploring the Impact of Climate Change on Worker Health and Safety

The climate crisis significantly endangers worker health and safety across various industries, necessitating immediate adaptation strategies and legislative support.

The climate crisis impacts habitat health and biodiversity. The sentiment is true for engineers, academics and health care workers alike. Climate change side effects seep into every corner of life more annually, including workplaces. The repercussions expand until they diminish workers’ health and safety. How do these concerns correlate, and how will alleviating environmental burdens improve occupational wellness?

Effects of Climate Change on Worker Health

Rising temperatures and extreme weather are only a couple of influences on health. Increasing natural disasters and harsh outdoor conditions make it challenging to thrive on the clock. Heat alone will impact an estimated 70 percent of workers worldwide.

Threats like hurricanes, wildfires, blizzards and dust storms compromise stability even before the event. Outdoor workers have more challenges since they bear the weight of the elements. Climate change also amplifies pollution. Indoor and outdoor air quality is in jeopardy, arriving in higher concentrations.

These factors are reasons why health ailments are more prevalent than ever, including:

  • Respiratory compromises
  • Skin-related conditions and burns
  • Heat stroke or exhaustion
  • Waterborne illness
  • Mental health concerns
  • Cancer
  • Asthma
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Dangers related to proximity to natural disaster-prone areas

Occupational Risks and Adaptation Strategies

The connection between a person, climate change and reduced workplace health is proven. What are the most affected sectors, and how can companies and policies protect the workforce?

Outdoor workers are exposed to environmental risks, such as UV radiation, air pollution and intense heat. They are more likely to encounter invasive species that carry toxic microorganisms and unknown illnesses. This includes construction, forestry and urban infrastructure.

Agriculture and fisheries are also affected since the volatile climate upends their work. The Gulf of Maine has witnessed oceanic temperatures rise 99 percent faster than the global ocean, threatening aquatic life and forcing workers to interact with dangerous waters.


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