Climate Change Creates Serious Health Hazards for 70% of the World’s Workers, says New ILO Report

Photo images: Marcel Crozet/ILO; Shutterstock/UNEP

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has revealed in a new report that billions of workers are exposed every year to hazards exacerbated by climate change, and these figures are likely to get worse.

Agricultural workers and other outdoor workers carrying out heavy labour in hot climates may be exposed to a cocktail of hazards, including excessive heat, UV radiation, and air pollution. Workers are currently facing serious health impacts from these climate change-related hazards.

According to the ILO, more than 70% of the global workforce are likely to be exposed to climate-change-related health hazards, and existing occupational safety and health protections are struggling to keep up with the resulting risks.

There is strong evidence that numerous health conditions in workers are linked to climate change – cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory illnesses, kidney dysfunction, reproductive disorders, and mental health conditions, among many others.

Air pollution is the most deadly risk, causing some 860,000 work-related deaths among outdoor workers annually, the ILO report says. Excessive heat causes 18,970 occupational deaths each year and UV radiation kills 18,960 through non melanoma skin cancer.

“The greatest impacts will be felt by the working poor, those working in the informal economy, seasonal workers and workers in micro and small enterprises,” the report says.

In some cases, the very technologies meant to slow climate change like solar panels and lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles can end up producing new dangers since they contain toxic chemicals, the report cautions.

(Read the ILO report here:…/news/WCMS_923805/lang–en/index.htm)

Click here for the report, “Ensuring safety and health at work in a changing climate”:


Sustainable practices – such as engaging in energy saving – are essential in the fight against climate change, which can help mitigate health risks posed to people exposed to excessive heat on the job.

Rising greenhouse gas concentrations result in changing temperatures, and other extreme weather events which could affect workers’ health and safety. Reducing energy use can help to slow climate change and reduce these impacts.

Energy efficiency plays a crucial role in mitigating the carbon emissions driving the climate crisis. Greenhouse gas emissions trap the sun’s heat, which leads to global warming and climate change. Reducing the overall demand for energy leads to fewer greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere.

Reducing energy use also reduces the demand for fossil fuels. This results in less air pollution, leading to health benefits and environmental improvements for workers, especially those working outdoors, who are frequently the first to be exposed to the consequences of climate change, often for longer periods and at greater intensities than the general population.

Climate change is happening because people and businesses around the world are creating excessive greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide emissions. Electrical consumption contributes to the production of greenhouse gasses that pollute the atmosphere and raise global temperatures.

Government policies, and companies reducing their carbon footprint are vital for turning the situation around on a larger scale. The collective actions of many individuals worldwide to reduce global warming by making changes in their daily lives, can drive change too.

Practise saving energy, or energy conservation. This involves smarter energy use, and requires us to cut back on activities that consume energy (eg: turning off lights, driving less, or using appliances less often).

If everyone strives to implement energy efficiency where we can, greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced, and this can ultimately fight against climate change.

Here are several easy and effective energy-saving measures you can take to reduce your energy footprint and help stop global warming.

> Unplug appliances not in use to reduce standby power.

> Grow indoor plants to cool your home to reduce use of energy-intensive air conditioning.

> Plant more trees around homes and schools to combat heat.

> Use natural lighting to cut down on energy consumption.

> Set the air-conditioner to turn off or adjust to a higher temperature when you are asleep.

> Iron clothes in bulk, and only once a week.

> Use energy-efficient appliances.

> Cover pots while cooking to reduce energy needed.

> Car-pool, cycle or use public transport to reduce carbon emissions.

> Use shower heater only when necessary.

> Wash full loads of laundry to save water and energy.