April 13, 2024

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New regulations will improve the world of work's adaptation to heatwaves

New regulations will improve the world of work's adaptation to heatwaves

Experts believe that it will be necessary to promote better adaptation of work activities to extreme summer temperatures in Spain. This sounds like one of the goals of the Observatory for Health and Climate Change (OSCC) that it presented yesterday in Madrid. Observatory sources considered it advisable to update current systems in order to adapt working conditions when a heat wave is announced. Last year, the government approved a royal decree for this purpose, but it was prepared in a hurry and is considered insufficient and subject to improvement.

The same sources added: “We must better adapt work activities to the new culture of heat, a scenario to which we are not accustomed.” Among the options on the way are “the possibility of advancing or delaying timetables”, regulating the use of uniforms in a more rational way or ensuring that some of the tools that workers handle are also less harmful.

The Health and Climate Change Observatory will support local plans against heat waves

The Health and Climate Change Observatory (in which the Ministries of Environmental Transition, Health and Science participate) aims to update knowledge about the health impacts of climate change. One of its main tasks will be to more precisely define the meteorological and health risk thresholds that justify alerts.

In this way, we want to make a more precise adjustment when identifying areas with the same climate characteristics and health risks due to higher temperatures, so that we can accurately alert and guide those most exposed.

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Likewise, we want to ensure that warnings take into account not only the heatwave, but also the multi-hazard impacts associated with extreme temperatures (fire risk, pollution levels…). This organization will also have a practical part aimed at generating response capacities for the entire population.

In this sense, recommendations will be prepared so that municipalities can prepare their local heatwave plans, where the best measures to prevent deaths due to high temperatures can be identified in each case.

Protect people's health

“The climate crisis is a public health crisis and the effects of greenhouse gas emissions are not only warming the planet but also creating a climate more hostile to life, making us more tired, more stressed and making people sicker.” “They are suffering from high morbidity and mortality rates,” Health Minister Monica Garcia said.

“We need an observatory to protect people from climate change, especially vulnerable people,” said Minister of Environmental Transition, Teresa Ribera. “A bad warning or lack of information on how to respond to a warning can result in the loss of human life and can lead to worse conditions and a greater need for care in hospital emergency services. Institutional cooperation is essential,” the Minister said.