Impacts of Climate Change on Work Health and Safety in Australia: A Scoping Literature Review

Lucia Wuersch, Alain Neher, Frank E Marino, Larissa Bamberry, Rodney Pope

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Abstract

This scoping review explores the extant literature on climate change impacts on Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) in Australia. It maps the coverage of climate hazards, occupations at risk, and health and socio-economic impacts with the aim of identifying climate change impacts on WHS in Australia and associated knowledge gaps. We used a scoping review approach to identify and investigate 41 scholarly works at the nexus between climate change and WHS in Australia. Thematic template analysis and the NVivo software helped us identify and structure the main themes and systematically document the analysis process. The review highlighted a research focus on the impacts on WHS of heat and extreme weather events resulting from climate change. Agriculture and construction emerged as the most examined occupations, emphasising climate-related diseases and productivity loss. Other climate-related hazards, occupations, and health and socio-economic impacts were largely overlooked in the included research literature. The analysis revealed there is scope for further research relating to climate change impacts on occupational hazards (e.g., air pollution), occupations (e.g., indoor settings at risk), worker health (e.g., injuries), and socio-economic impacts (e.g., change in social practice). Furthermore, the results highlight that the main themes (hazards, occupations, health, and productivity) are interconnected, and the impacts of climate change can be 'cascading', adding complexity and severity. Hence, it is important to look at WHS as a multifaceted phenomenon in a holistic way to understand the risks and support required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-35
Number of pages35
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume20
Issue number21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes

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