Impacts of Climate Change in the Workplace

Events resulting from climate change are enhancing the severity of hazards to the health of workers. Rising greenhouse gas concentrations result in changing temperatures, and other extreme weather events which could affect workers' health and safety.

  • Increased risk of heat injuries and illnesses during periods of higher than average temperatures.
  • More frequent and damaging extreme weather events, such as
    • Hurricanes
    • Flooding
    • Droughts
    • Wildfires
    • Severe thunderstorms, including tornadoes
    • Snowstorms and blizzards
  • Vector-borne diseases such as viruses, bacteria and protozoa (eg. Zika and West Nile).
  • Water-borne illnesses from extreme weather events such as hurricanes and flooding (eg. E. coli and Salmonella).
  • Clean-up work from extreme weather events.

How to Protect Workers

Employers should train employees on the hazards resulting from extreme weather events.

  • Utilize a method to evaluate new or changing workplace hazards, such as a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA).
  • Ensure any protective measures such as respirators and personal protective equipment (PPE) are suitable and available for hazards.
  • Train employees on proper usage and limitations of PPE.