Advanced

How will climate change working life?

Lundgren Kownacki, Karin LU (2014)
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Vårt samhälle är beroende av ett stabilt klimat och förändringar av temperaturen påverkar direkt ekonomisk aktivitet. Att vår hälsa påverkas negativt och att vi har svårare att arbeta produktivt under värmestress är ingenting nytt utan det har studerats ingående. Dock i det samtida sammanhang som överskuggas av ökad värmestress på grund av klimatförändringarna, saknas mycket information på omfattningen av framtida värmeexponering och dess konsekvenser.

Syftet med forskningen var att genom litteratur och en fältstudie studera denna aspekt av klimatförändringarnas påverkan på arbetsmiljön. Den inledande litteraturundersökningen (artikel I) identifierade de faktorer som kan förvärra... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Vårt samhälle är beroende av ett stabilt klimat och förändringar av temperaturen påverkar direkt ekonomisk aktivitet. Att vår hälsa påverkas negativt och att vi har svårare att arbeta produktivt under värmestress är ingenting nytt utan det har studerats ingående. Dock i det samtida sammanhang som överskuggas av ökad värmestress på grund av klimatförändringarna, saknas mycket information på omfattningen av framtida värmeexponering och dess konsekvenser.

Syftet med forskningen var att genom litteratur och en fältstudie studera denna aspekt av klimatförändringarnas påverkan på arbetsmiljön. Den inledande litteraturundersökningen (artikel I) identifierade de faktorer som kan förvärra värmebelastningen i nuvarande och framtida arbetsplatser; den urbana värmeö effekten, fysiskt arbete, individuella förutsättningar och begränsningar i utvecklingsländer där tekniska lösningar ofta inte är tillämpbara. Det finns också en brist på information om effekterna på sårbara grupper som äldre, fattiga och gravida kvinnor.

Empirisk data samlades in från mätningar, observationer och frågeformulär för att uppskatta värmebelastning och tillhörande produktivitetsförluster på varma arbetsplatser i Chennai (Madras), Indien. Klimatmätningar kombinerades med uppskattning av arbetstyngd och mätningar av arbetsklädernas egenskaper. Hälsorisker, anpassningsstrategier och kopplingarna till klimatförändringarna var aspekter som också utforskades.

Samtliga studerade arbetsplatser, bestående av industri, service och jordbrukssektorn, hade mycket hög värmeexponering som ofta gick över de internationellt etablerade gränsvärdena för att kunna arbeta på ett säkert sätt (artikel II). Arbetsuppgifterna hade måttlig till hög arbetstyngd, där jordbruks- och byggnadsarbetare också arbetade i direkt solstrålning. De flesta arbetare rapporterade hälsoproblem på grund av hettan, inklusive trötthet, yrsel och huvudvärk. Problem att uppfylla produktionsmål i de varmare månaderna kompenserades ofta genom att arbeta övertid. Vid analys av produktivitetsminskning i en fysiologisk modell visade alla parametrarna betydlig värmebelastning. Tillgång till vatten var en kritisk faktor i resultatet. Det visade sig att kvinnor är mer sårbara på grund av att de har en skyddande skjorta ovanpå de traditionella kläderna de arbetar i, vilket ökar isoleringen och därmed värmebelastningen.

4

Lokalt på arbetsplatserna fanns det många tekniska, beteendemässiga och administrativa anpassningsstrategier för att minska värmeexponeringen. Bortsett från att ta raster vilket dominerade anpassningsmetoderna, tillkom många traditionella metoder, däribland främst drycker och kost.

Luftkonditionering av inomhusmiljön ökar snabbt i Indien för att skydda mot hetta och på grund av ökad konsumtionskraft av medelklassen. Det är en effektiv metod för att minska värmeexponering men skapar många problem som ökad elförbrukning. I artikel III, kom vi fram till att användningen av luftkonditionering utlöser en ökning av energiförbrukningen när utomhustemperaturen ökar, och därmed utsläppen av växthusgaser. Detta förvärrar klimatförändringarna och ökar risken för elavbrott under värmevågor. Dessutom pumpas värme direkt ut på gatunivå från luftkonditioneringssystemen och påverkar den urbana värmeön.

Sammanfattningsvis är en god arbetsmiljö en av de grundläggande rättigheter som arbetstagare ofta inte har tillgång till i Indien. Arbetsproduktiviteten kan komma att påverkas med ökande temperaturer och resultera i att Indiens ekonomiska produktivitet minskar. För att lösa denna problematik måste lösningar ta hänsyn till de sociala, ekonomiska, etiska, miljö- och tekniska aspekterna av problemet. Utbildning och medvetenhet är viktigt för att skapa engagemang på alla samhällsnivåer. (Less)
Abstract
Heat stress has been studied extensively. However, in the contemporary context of climate change there is a lack of information on the extent of future heat stress and its consequences, especially in occupational settings. The main aim of the research was to identify the current knowledge gaps by conducting a literature review (paper I) together with the collection of empirical data to examine the implications for labour productivity and occupational health in already hot workplaces in Chennai, India (paper II). Finally, it also looked at adaptation options for cooling and sustainability challenges from air conditioning use (paper III).

The literature review found the main factors to exacerbate heat stress in current and future... (More)
Heat stress has been studied extensively. However, in the contemporary context of climate change there is a lack of information on the extent of future heat stress and its consequences, especially in occupational settings. The main aim of the research was to identify the current knowledge gaps by conducting a literature review (paper I) together with the collection of empirical data to examine the implications for labour productivity and occupational health in already hot workplaces in Chennai, India (paper II). Finally, it also looked at adaptation options for cooling and sustainability challenges from air conditioning use (paper III).

The literature review found the main factors to exacerbate heat stress in current and future workplaces to be the urban heat island effect, physical work, individual differences, and the developing country context, where technological fixes and certain control measures are often not applicable. There is also a lack of information regarding the effects on vulnerable groups such as the poor, elderly and pregnant women.

The field study in Chennai gathered data from measurements, observations and questionnaires. Climate measurements were combined with estimations of workload and measurements of the properties of the work clothing. Health risks, preventive methods, productivity impacts and the links to climate change were also explored. All workplaces surveyed, representing the industrial, service and agricultural sectors, had very high heat exposure, often reaching the international standard threshold (ISO 7243:1989) for working safely. Most workers had moderate to high workloads, some in direct sun exposure. Females were found to be more vulnerable due to the extra insulation added from wearing a protective shirt on top of traditional clothing when working. Most workers reported health problems due to heat exposure, including tiredness, dizziness and headaches. Problems in meeting production targets in the hotter months were usually compensated for by overtime work. When analyzing productivity loss and heat strain in a physiological model – the Predicted Heat Strain Model (ISO 7933:2004) – the parameters showed significant impacts, especially when a couple of extra degrees were added to the climate change scenario. Water provision and rehydration were critical parameters in the outcome.

2

Locally in workplaces, there were numerous approaches used to reduce heat exposure. Apart from taking rests, traditional methods, which included mainly drinks and diet, dominated the coping mechanisms.

Air conditioning as a technical solution has experienced high growth in India as a means of protection from heat exposure. It is effective in reducing heat exposure but creates many sustainability challenges. In paper III, it was found that air conditioning use triggers an increase in energy consumption when the outdoor temperature increases, resulting in greenhouse gas emissions and therefore affecting climate change. In addition, the direct heat rejected from the air conditioning units adds to street level heat and thus, the urban heat island effect. If not abated, it has the potential to intensify climate change, and place extra loads on future energy supplies, especially during heat waves.

The issue of increasing heat and associated productivity loss could impact working people’s health and livelihood. Further research needs to look at all aspects and impacts, taking an interdisciplinary perspective. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
occupational heat stress, climate change, productivity, international standards, India
ISBN
978-91-7473-867-4
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
eb7bd779-f6c4-495c-88c0-4e61361d3de9 (old id 4937134)
date added to LUP
2015-01-19 16:27:25
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:17
@misc{eb7bd779-f6c4-495c-88c0-4e61361d3de9,
  abstract     = {Heat stress has been studied extensively. However, in the contemporary context of climate change there is a lack of information on the extent of future heat stress and its consequences, especially in occupational settings. The main aim of the research was to identify the current knowledge gaps by conducting a literature review (paper I) together with the collection of empirical data to examine the implications for labour productivity and occupational health in already hot workplaces in Chennai, India (paper II). Finally, it also looked at adaptation options for cooling and sustainability challenges from air conditioning use (paper III).<br/><br>
The literature review found the main factors to exacerbate heat stress in current and future workplaces to be the urban heat island effect, physical work, individual differences, and the developing country context, where technological fixes and certain control measures are often not applicable. There is also a lack of information regarding the effects on vulnerable groups such as the poor, elderly and pregnant women.<br/><br>
The field study in Chennai gathered data from measurements, observations and questionnaires. Climate measurements were combined with estimations of workload and measurements of the properties of the work clothing. Health risks, preventive methods, productivity impacts and the links to climate change were also explored. All workplaces surveyed, representing the industrial, service and agricultural sectors, had very high heat exposure, often reaching the international standard threshold (ISO 7243:1989) for working safely. Most workers had moderate to high workloads, some in direct sun exposure. Females were found to be more vulnerable due to the extra insulation added from wearing a protective shirt on top of traditional clothing when working. Most workers reported health problems due to heat exposure, including tiredness, dizziness and headaches. Problems in meeting production targets in the hotter months were usually compensated for by overtime work. When analyzing productivity loss and heat strain in a physiological model – the Predicted Heat Strain Model (ISO 7933:2004) – the parameters showed significant impacts, especially when a couple of extra degrees were added to the climate change scenario. Water provision and rehydration were critical parameters in the outcome.<br/><br>
2<br/><br>
Locally in workplaces, there were numerous approaches used to reduce heat exposure. Apart from taking rests, traditional methods, which included mainly drinks and diet, dominated the coping mechanisms.<br/><br>
Air conditioning as a technical solution has experienced high growth in India as a means of protection from heat exposure. It is effective in reducing heat exposure but creates many sustainability challenges. In paper III, it was found that air conditioning use triggers an increase in energy consumption when the outdoor temperature increases, resulting in greenhouse gas emissions and therefore affecting climate change. In addition, the direct heat rejected from the air conditioning units adds to street level heat and thus, the urban heat island effect. If not abated, it has the potential to intensify climate change, and place extra loads on future energy supplies, especially during heat waves.<br/><br>
The issue of increasing heat and associated productivity loss could impact working people’s health and livelihood. Further research needs to look at all aspects and impacts, taking an interdisciplinary perspective.},
  author       = {Lundgren Kownacki, Karin},
  isbn         = {978-91-7473-867-4},
  keyword      = {occupational heat stress,climate change,productivity,international standards,India},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Licentiate Thesis},
  title        = {How will climate change working life?},
  year         = {2014},
}