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Warning over rise of climate-related workplace deaths

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has issued a warning about the rise of climate-related workplace deaths.

It comes ahead of International Workers’ Memorial Day which will be marked on 28 April.

According to ETUC, the number of people dying at work due to extreme heat is increasing faster in the European Union than any other part of the world.

Estimates provided to ETUC by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) show that 80,800 people suffered injuries at work due to heat exposure in 2020 and 67 people died as a result of working in extreme heat.

It means the EU has seen a 42% increase in heat-related workplace fatalities since 2000.

ETUC’s European election manifesto calls for EU legislation that establishes temperature limits for work to prevent workers from risks associated to climate change.

The ILO data also looked at workplace deaths linked to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, extreme weather events, air pollution, vector-borne diseases and agrochemicals.

“We cannot accept that every summer dozens of workers needlessly lose their lives because we have not adapted our working practices to the changing climate,” said ETUC Confederal Secretary Giulio Romania.

“On building sites or in warehouses, people are dying or being seriously injured because they are forced to keep working in obviously dangerous temperatures.”

“Adapting working hours to avoid the hottest part of the day is common sense way to protect workers while maintaining productivity,” Mr Romania said.

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