Heat Stress and How to Manage its Effects

October 14, 2021

According to International Labour Organization (ILO), an increase in heat stress resulting from global warming is projected to lead to global productivity losses equivalent to 80 million full-time jobs in the year 2030.

2.2% of total working hours worldwide will be lost because of higher temperatures, a loss equivalent to 80 million full-time jobs. This is equivalent to global economic losses of US$2,400 billion.

Heat stress refers to heat more than what the body can tolerate without suffering physiological impairment. It generally occurs at temperatures above 35°C, in high humidity.

Excess heat during work is an occupational health risk; it restricts workers’ physical functions and capabilities, work capacity and thus, productivity. In extreme cases it can lead to heatstroke, which can be fatal.

The aspects of the environment can lead to poor wellbeing, which when considered as a part of a causal chain, could have implications for outcomes such as fatigue and performance. Heat and noise are some examples.

Individuals who worked in the engine room were often affected by the heat, through the nature of their work and noise was thought to have implications for all staff on vessels. Even other disrupting sounds could wake those who may be trying to rest after a shift.

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