2.4 billion workers exposed to excessive heat, 1.6 billion to workplace pollution: UN

The report noted that numerous dangerous health conditions in workers had been linked to climate change, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory illnesses, kidney disfunction and mental health conditions.

The ILO said 1.6 billion workers worldwide were estimated to be exposed to UV radiation each year, with more than 18,960 work-related deaths annually from non-melanoma skin cancer.

Another 1.6 billion people were likely to be exposed to workplace pollution, resulting in up to 860,000 deaths among outdoor workers annually.

More than 870 million agricultural workers are meanwhile likely to be exposed to pesticides, with more than 300,000 deaths attributed to pesticide poisoning each year.

And 15,000 work-related deaths each year are attributed to exposure to parasitic and vector-borne diseases, the report said.

“It’s clear that climate change is already creating significant additional health hazards for workers,” Azzi said in a statement.

“It is essential that we heed these warnings. Occupational safety and health considerations must be become part of our climate change responses — both policies and actions.”

The ILO said climate change hazards could require countries to re-evaluate existing legislation or create new regulations to protect workers properly.

The agency will next year host an expert meeting with representatives of employers, labour and governments to discuss the issue, with the aim of coming up with fresh policy recommendations, Azzi said.

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