Majority of workers worldwide exposed to health risks due to climate change, new report warns

A new report has warned that more than 70 percent of workers around the world, over 2.4 billion workers out of a global workforce of 3.4 billion, are exposed to excessive heat and other climate-change-related health hazards.

The report, released on Monday by the International Labor Organization (ILO), warned that existing occupational safety and health protections are struggling to keep up with the resulting risks of serious health hazards due to climate change.

Manal Azzi, ILO senior specialist on occupational safety and health, told journalists in Geneva that numerous dangerous health conditions in workers have been linked to climate change, including cardiovascular disease, respiratory illnesses, kidney disfunction, and mental health conditions.

The ILO official confirmed that nearly 20,000 workers are dying yearly because of injuries in the workplace related to rising temperatures and over two million disability adjusted years are lost because of heat. She highlighted that the reported number of deaths is probably an under-estimation of the true figure.

According to the report, 1.6 billion workers are exposed to UV radiation, with nearly 19,000 work-related yearly deaths from nonmelanoma skin cancer. It says 1.6. billion workers also are exposed to workplace air pollution, resulting in up to 860,000 work-related deaths among outdoor workers annually.

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