In more than one in two workplaces, climate change has affected operations. But the issue has been addressed from an occupational safety and health (OSH) perspective in only 8% of workplaces. This is according to the annual survey by the National Institute for Occupational Health and the Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, which was completed by more than 500 OSH managers.
The most frequently identified OSH risks were: increased slipperiness in winter, exposure to heat and the use of heat protection equipment. In addition, the hazards and consequences of extreme weather events (storms and floods), variations in precipitation and diseases caused by ticks and other animals were also identified. Some workplaces take these issues into account as part of a normal risk assessment and pay particular attention to potential new risks. Others ignore them completely. OSH managers considered climate change to be a new issue. Basic factual information, on risk identification, and specific to the sector and occupation is therefore needed.
The authors of the survey emphase the need to upgrade the skills of staff in order to be prepared for the risks of climate change.