A new report warns that the health and safety of workers across the country, both indoors and outdoors, is increasingly at risk from excessive heat, increasing air and water pollution, spreading infectious diseases, extreme weather, challenges to their mental health and other impacts from climate change.

The report is among the first to warn that climate change poses a serious health threat to people working at indoor jobs, such as airline flight attendants, warehouse workers, home health care workers, and teachers.

Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic is adding another layer of danger to essential workers because many also are threatened by climate change.

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The report, “On the Front Lines: Climate Change Threatens the Health of America’s Workers” was released today by NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), the BlueGreen Alliance, and several labor organizations. It includes 14 first-hand stories from outdoor and indoor workers impacted by climate change.

“The climate crisis isn’t just endangering the health and safety of outdoor workers, it’s also a serious threat to indoor workers. Janitors, bus drivers, public health workers, and others deemed essential in the pandemic, are on the frontlines of harm,” said Juanita Constible, principal author of the report and a climate health expert at NRDC. “This dual public health crisis demands that our country ramp up more robust health protections for workers now. The good news is that protecting worker health from the impacts of the climate crisis is fully within our grasp—but it will get harder the longer we wait to act.”

Among workers potentially at risk from climate change and COVID-19 are wildland firefighters already battling an active fire season in the West; public health nurses currently conducting outdoor COVID-19 tests;  migrant workers engaged in flood and hurricane recovery; and teachers who may return to in-person education this fall in schools lacking air conditioning.

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In addition, Black people, Latinx, and other people of color who are experiencing the highest numbers of deaths from COVID-19 are more likely to work in essential industries and jobs than white people.

The report notes that in addition to putting the health and safety of workers across the country at risk, climate change is causing economic devastation to communities. Disasters can slash take-home pay by shuttering businesses, disrupting commuting routes, and reducing the number of hours and days during which people can safely work.

Among workers potentially at risk from climate change and COVID-19 are wildland firefighters already battling an active fire season in the West; public health nurses currently conducting outdoor COVID-19 tests;  migrant workers engaged in flood and hurricane recovery; and teachers who may return to in-person education this fall in schools lacking air conditioning.

In addition, Black people, Latinx, and other people of color who are experiencing the highest numbers of deaths from COVID-19 are more likely to work in essential industries and jobs than white people.

The report notes that in addition to putting the health and safety of workers across the country at risk, climate change is causing economic devastation to communities. Disasters can slash take-home pay by shuttering businesses, disrupting commuting routes, and reducing the number of hours and days during which people can safely work.

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By Ubong Edet

A passionate Health and Safety professional with a good level of field experience and relevant certifications including NEBOSH, OSHA, ISO, etc certifications. An Health and Safety activist who believes in the growth and continual improvement of the profession. He is going all out to create awareness and safe precious lives.

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