Climate change impact to construction works

Employee Wellness in a Changing Climate: Environmental Heat Stress Driving Need for Targeted Health Promotion and Risk Reduction 

Our latest published journal studies the physiological heat stress that is impacting outdoor workers in the construction industry, showing greater…

  • Resource
    Published Journal
  • Authors
    George A Gellert, Scott Montgomery, Tess E. Gellert, Jeames Gillett, Andrew Kerekes and Jeremy Hole
  • Original publication date
    June 2022
  • Publisher
    Journal of Ecophysiological and Occupational Health
  • wellteq

Executive summary

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of increased ambient temperatures among outdoor workers on physiological heat stress through continuous monitoring of heart rate variability.

It was observed in the study that post-program self-rating of health status improved among 56% of participants. A linear relationship was observed between external ambient temperature and physiological stress. Healthy weight people demonstrated less dynamic HRV change and stress with rising temperature compared to those obese/overweight. Physiological stress levels peaked during the hottest hours of the day, with high BMI workers having the greatest increases in stress

In conclusion, physiological heat stress is impacting outdoor workers in the construction industry, with greater severity observed as BMI increases. Framing climate change as an occupational health issue will help employers understand and mitigate the negative impact of a changing climate on outdoor workers. Combined with the use of smartphone technology, employers can effectively monitor and target physiological heat stress and mental stress among at-risk employees. 

Contents

  • Introduction
    • Global Climate Change and Increased Risk and Incidence of Heat Stress
  • Methods
    • Intervention Objectives and Technology Deployed
    • Study Setting
    • Study Participants and Selection
    • Intervention Content and Outcomes Metrics Captured
  • Results
    • Perceived Health Status Improvement
    • Body Weight and Heat-Induced Physiological Stress
    • Occupational Role and Stress
  • Discussion
    • The magnitude of physiological stress produced rises with increasing temperature, and climbs most dramatically as BMI increases, with individuals who are overweight or obese experiencing the greatest stress levels.
  • Conclusion
    • The negative impact of climate change on workers is an increasing problem that will confront many industries across global markets and regions in the coming decades.

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