News

Study identifies effective mitigation strategies to keep workers safe from heat stress. Largest ever study on the impact of heat stress reveals effectiveness of a number of existing approaches, and makes recommendations to better protect workers during summer months DOHA (ILO News) – Outdoor workers in Qatar are able to perform their roles safely, despite the summer heat and humidity, if effective precautionary measures are in place. This is the key finding from a study commissioned by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs, in collaboration with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC). Throughout the summer, the FAME Lab from the University of Thessaly, a leading institution in this field, collected data on workers’ physiology and labour effort, covering more than 5,500 work hours. This is the largest ever study of its kind and the first in the region. The research examined...

Hot working conditions greatly increase serious illness and decrease productivity. One in three individuals working in hot conditions experience hyperthermia or more serious symptoms of heat illness, such as acute kidney injury, nausea or fainting, a new study published in the Lancet Planetary Health has revealed. Researchers have analysed data from more than 447 million workers from over 40 different occupations across the globe and found that individuals working under heat stress had an average body temperature of 37.6°C, much higher than the 36.9°C for those working in normal conditions. The at-risk group was four times more likely to experience heat strain, a condition with important effects for the body’s physiological function that includes symptoms such as elevated hyperthermia, dehydration, kidney injury, nausea, fainting, and muscle cramps. The team, which included Loughborough University Professor of Environmental Physiology and Ergonomics George Havenith, looked at data from 111 studies from 30 countries and...

European workers fail to maintain water balance. A newly published scientific paper indicates that occupational safety and daily day performance in 7 out of 10 workers, from several European industries, is negatively affected by a combination of heat stress and failure to maintain water balance. The study combines field observations and motor-cognitive testing in the lab, and was conducted by the Pan-European Heat-Shield project coordinated by researchers from Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports at University of Copenhagen. The importance of preventing dehydration has received much attention in health and work-safety advisories, as well as highlighted in the media during hot periods. It is therefore astonishing that 7 out of 10 workers are not adequately hydrated already at the onset of work. "The very high prevalence of dehydration was a surprise to us, and the potential influence on workers cognitive function and motor performance in key industries is quite problematic, because it...