Heavy work in high heat without adequate protections results in serious harm

Photo credit: Mikael Lefrançois

Heat stress occurs when the body cannot get rid of excess heat

While at rest, the body generates its own heat. More is generated when we move. Jobs with high intensity physical activity—like those in agriculture and construction—generate even more heat in the body.

When that job exposes the worker to the sun, the level of heat workers experience becomes dangerously high, which is known as heat stress.

Environmental HeatInternal Heat from Work
  • Solar radiation
  • Diffuse Solar
  • Air temperature
  • Air humidity
  • Wind speed
  • Convection
  • Radiation
  • Clothing
  • Body core
  • Reflected solar radiation
  • Respiration
  • Perspiration
  • Skin blood flow
  • Contracting muscles

Workers are most at risk when they have an intense workload in high heat with inadequate labor protections

And harm to workers is felt in their communities, the businesses they work for, health systems, and the whole economy

The minimum number of workers worldwide exposed to excessive heat yearly
The share of all workers worldwide exposed to excessive heat yearly
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The percent increase in number of workers exposed to excessive heat, from 2000 to 2020
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The estimated yearly number of occupational injuries attributable to excessive heat
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The estimated number of deaths attributable to excessive heat yearly
By 2030, the number of full-time jobs that will be lost due to high temperatures
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By 2030, the accumulated financial loss in U.S. dollars due to heat-related illness if increase in temperature is limited to 1.5°C
$ 0 Trillion

ILO Video

Key findings on climate change and occupational safety and health

We prevent harm with rest, shade, hydration, and sanitation

Heat stress raises workers’ core body temperature to dangerously high levels, leading to serious harm if left unaddressed. One of our key objectives is to make sure that core body temperature stays below 38°C/100.4°F.

Core body temperature below 38°C/100.4°F

The solution requires rest, shade, hydration, and sanitation (RSH-s). It sounds simple, but actually requires precise operationalization and implementation, which La Isla Network specializes in. We do this by assessing the risk of heat stress and other climate-driven risks, addressing those risks, and assisting in the implementation of the specific protocol we have designed. Our protocols also focus on organizational management to make sure the management team positively engages with the RSH-s program.

Scheduled breaks
Portable shade tents
Clean water and hydration beverages

Contribute to Our Global Effort

We have embarked on a global effort to address heat stress and other climate change-driven risks. We do this through our programs, such as the Adelante Initiative, PREP, PREP for Change, and ENSURE-Nepal. Through them we implement the solutions needed to prevent harm to worker health.

Help contribute to our cause!