Tuesday 25 June 2024

Contact 1800 772 679

Contact 1800 772 679

The magazine of the Public Service Association of NSW and the Community and Public Sector Union (NSW Branch)

Climate Change Hurts Workers

Climate Change Hurts Workers

Environmental catastrophes put workers in danger.

More than 70 per cent of the global workforce is likely to be exposed to climate-change-related health hazards, and existing Workplace Health and Safety protections are struggling to keep up with the resulting risks, according to a new report by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The report, Ensuring Safety and Health at Work in a Changing Climate, says that climate change is already having a serious impact on the safety and health of workers in all regions of the world. The ILO estimates that more than 2.4 billion workers, out of a global workforce of 3.4 billion, are likely to be exposed to excessive heat at some point during their work.

In addition, the report estimates that 18,970 lives and 2.09 million disability- adjusted life years are lost annually due to the 22.87 million occupational injuries, which are attributable to excessive heat. This is not to mention the 26.2 million people worldwide living with chronic kidney disease linked to workplace heat stress.

However, the impact of climate change on workers goes well beyond exposure to excessive heat, the report says, creating a “cocktail of hazards”, which result in a range of dangerous health conditions.

The report notes that numerous health conditions in workers have been linked to climate change, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory illnesses, kidney dysfunction and mental health conditions.

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