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ILO report: Over 70% of global workforce face ‘cocktail’ of climate-related health hazards

A report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) has indicated an that over 70% of the global workforce  are predicted to face climate-related health risks, as current occupational safety and health (OSH) measures are lagging behind these escalating dangers.

The report seen by Naijaonpoint is titled, “Ensuring safety and health at work in a changing climate” which  highlights that climate change is profoundly affecting worker safety and health worldwide.

It also discusses how various countries are updating or introducing new legislation, regulations, and guidelines, as well as enhancing climate mitigation strategies, such as improving energy efficiency in workplaces.

According to the ILO’s findings, more than 2.4 billion workers, out of a total global workforce of 3.4 billion, could face extreme heat during their employment, based on the latest 2020 data.

This figure represents an increase from 65.5% in 2000 to 70.9%.

Furthermore, the report calculates annual losses of 18,970 lives and 2.09 million disability-adjusted life years due to 22.87 million occupational injuries related to excessive heat exposure. Additionally, 26.2 million people globally suffer from chronic kidney disease caused by heat stress at work, as per 2020 data.

Beyond just heat exposure, climate change introduces a range of severe health hazards for workers, termed as a “cocktail of hazards” by the report.

As the impact is extensive, it is associated with various health conditions in workers, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, kidney dysfunction, and mental health issues.

According  to the report:

Manal Azzi, OSH Team Lead at the ILO, emphasized the significant health risks climate change is already imposing on workers.

He said,