Introduction Climate change can impact on workers’ health in different ways: the increase of ambient temperature can generate heath-related illnesses, cardiovascular, respiratory and kidney diseases; extreme weather conditions can cause traumatic injuries and acute deaths; the expansion of vectors habitat can cause the increase of vector-borne diseases. In addition, the reduced work capacity can result in a lower labour productivity. The aim of the systematic literature search we are conducting as part of the EU-funded Project HEAT-SHIELD is to explore the effects of climate change on the health and productivity of workers.
Methods Four separate search strategies were conducted. The first three were focused on the health impacts of, respectively, increased ambient temperatures, extreme weather conditions, expansion of vectors habitats; the fourth was aimed to assess the effect of climate change on labour productivity.
Results For each retrieved study, we are gathering specific information. From a preliminary assessment of the literature retrieved, the population more frequently studied is the working population as a whole, followed by miners and farm workers. The most studies health outcomes are heat-related illness, physiological parameters and workers hydration status (using urine specific gravity as a proxy).
Conclusions The results of our systematic reviews will be useful for policy makers to adequately plan and coordinate actions involving particularly the strategic industries targeted by the HEAT-SHIELD Project (manufacturing, construction, transportation, tourism and agriculture), and will therefore serve as a tool to prevent heat-related illnesses and promote labour productivity, innovation and implementation in the EU.
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