In light of the harsh rise in temperatures.. How do European workers face the heat wave?
Earlier this month, the World Meteorological Organization recorded the worst week ever, as the scorching temperatures did not recede as heat waves continued in Europe, North America, Asia, North Africa and others, according to the BBC.
As the planet warms, people are getting stuck in persistent extreme weather patterns for longer periods, says John P. Abraham, professor of thermal sciences at the University of St. Thomas’ School of Engineering in the US.
He continued, “What used to be a heat wave of 1-2 days is now 3-5 days. People who can tolerate a day or two of excessive heat will face many problems with longer periods.”
Climate change continues
And the BBC reported that, as scientists predict that climate change will continue to raise temperatures and increase heat waves, the way people live must change, as workers need to know what can happen to them on the road, and companies also need to rise to the occasion to protect them.
Workplace changes will generally be divided into two categories, experts say. The first is outdoor, uncooled environments — such as agriculture or manufacturing — where high temperatures are not controlled. In 2022, a cleaner in Madrid died of heatstroke after working in extreme temperatures. Accordingly, academics say some of the biggest changes will likely occur in these types of work environments, to protect workers.
“Working outdoors in temperatures will require shorter shifts with more breaks, and more night work,” says Abraham.
He added that while it would likely see this group of workers shift their work hours into the late evening, this approach is not a panacea, and still presents risks, as nighttime temperatures rise faster than daytime temperatures.
He explains: “If people work in the heat of the day for short periods and complete their work at night, their bodies will not be able to rest from the heat, and they will face more difficult times the next day.”
For workers in non-temperature-controlled environments, Abraham believes that air-conditioned cooling centers will become more common, and employers will have to build in rest periods for workers to lower their body temperatures enough to work again.
And the BBC continued that employees who work indoors or in cold environments are relatively safer from exposure to extreme temperatures, but they must also expect changes in their work procedures.