Aussie workers face greater health risks as summers become hotter

Australian workers are facing increased safety and health risks as summer becomes hotter, an expert warned.

According to a report by the Herald Sun, academics at the National Climate Change Adaptation Conference, which opened on Tuesday, said a review on workplace laws should be done as summers become hotter.

Dr Elizabeth Hanna from the Australian National University’s centre for epidemiology and population health, said increasing summer temperatures were causing more heat-related health problems and fatalities, with many happening at work.

“Australia really needs to start developing some adaptation options because what’s going to happen is we’re going to face that horrible question, ‘Do we down tools over summer or work until we’re dead?’” said Dr Hanna.

She also said that days when temperatures reached more than 35C would triple over the next decade.

“The problem is if you sweat up to maximum you become dehydrated, and dehydration has the double whammy – it impairs your mental ability and so people can have poor judgment, particularly if they’re using equipment and machinery and can increase accidents.

The Herald Sun further reports that there are 1000 heat-related fatalities every year, and this figure is expected to increase.

Dr Hanna is leading an ANU study to learn about industries and activities that are most susceptible to heat-related diseases.


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