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Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O'Neil, LLC
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What effect is global warming having on workers?

Climate change may impact certain types of workers in different ways. If you are a rescue worker or someone whose job frequently exposes them to the outdoors, you may be negatively impacted by global warming. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, climate change poses a very real threat in terms of new hazards developing and exacerbating existing health and safety problems.

One effect that is being seen as a result of global warming is an increase in extreme weather. If you are a firefighter, you may find yourself being called more frequently to deal with wildfires. If you are a healthcare worker, extreme weather events may cause an influx of patients. If you are a utility worker, you may find yourself dealing with an increase in infrastructure related problems. Each of those situations opens the door to more instances of work-related injuries or illnesses.

Another issue resulting from temperature extremes and unexpected precipitation brought on by climate change is an increase in pest populations such as mosquitos and ticks, both of which carry diseases. Efforts to eradicate unwanted mosquito and tick populations may result in the use of pesticides, which also pose a danger to workers. In addition, temperature changes and frequently wet conditions may lead to an increase in allergens such as mold and pollen. If you have bad allergies or suffer from asthma, exposure to increased levels of these things could potentially be harmful to your health.

If your job has you working outside, especially in the summer, then increases in temperature brought on by climate change may bring greater periods of intense heat in warmer months. This can lead to dehydration, fatigue or even heat stroke. Warmer weather also means increased air pollution. If you are frequently breathing air that is polluted, you may develop respiratory problems, or any existing problems may become worse.

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