Climate Change and Occupational Health and Safety in a Temperate Climate: Potential Impacts and Research Priorities in Quebec, Canada

The potential impacts of climate change (CC) on Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) have been studied a little in tropical countries, while they received no attention in northern industrialized countries with a temperate climate. This work aimed to establish an overview of the potential links between CC and OHS in those countries and to determine research priorities for Quebec, Canada. A narrative review of the scientific literature (2005–2010) was presented to a working group of international and national experts and stakeholders during a workshop held in 2010. The working group was invited to identify knowledge gaps, and a modified Delphi method helped prioritize research avenues. This process highlighted five categories of hazards that are likely to impact OHS in northern industrialized countries: heat waves/increased temperatures, air pollutants, UV radiation, extreme weather events, vector-borne/zoonotic diseases. These hazards will affect working activities related to natural resources (i.e. agriculture, fishing and forestry) and may influence the socioeconomic context (built environment and green industries), thus indirectly modifying OHS. From this consensus approach, three categories of research were identified: 1) Knowledge acquisition on hazards, target populations and methods of adaptation; 2) Surveillance of diseases/accidents/occupational hazards; and 3) Development of new occupational adaptation strategies.

Adam-Poupart,A., Labrèche, F. , Smargiassi, A.,  Duguay, P.,  Busque, M.-A., Gagné, C., Rintamäki, H., Kjellstrom, T., Zayed, J. Climate Change and Occupational Health and Safety in a Temperate Climate: Potential Impacts and Research Priorities in Quebec, Canada. Industrial Health, Vol. 51 (2013) No. 1 p. 68-78. http://dx.doi.org/10.2486/indhealth.2012-0100

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