IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail


Impact of Summer Temperatures on Workers’ Health and Safety

Impact of Summer Temperatures on Workers’ Health and Safety

Given that summer temperatures in Quebec are expected to increase in coming years, it is essential to implement preventive measures specifically targeting those workers most likely to suffer from heat effects and to continue research to advance our knowledge in this field, in particular by using better heat stress indices.

The statistical relationship between outdoor temperature and the incidence of illness or accidents among workers is not well documented and has never been studied in conditions similar to those in Quebec. The same is true regarding the relationship between ozone and acute respiratory disorders in workers, while the effects of simultaneous exposure to heat and ozone have never been studied in this population.

This new study published by the IRSST documents these associations in a Quebec setting. To do so, the researchers developed statistical models to:

  • assess the association between outdoor summer temperature and occupational injuries accepted for compensation by the CNESST [Quebec workers’ compensation board] in connection with overexposure to heat (sunstroke, fainting, loss of consciousness, etc.) and work-related accidents;
  • explore the association between daily summer levels of tropospheric ozone and occupational injury claims for acute respiratory illnesses accepted for compensation. Last, we also wanted to identify subpopulations, industries and occupations most at risk for occupational injuries related to heat or tropospheric ozone concentrations.