White Paper

Extreme Weather: How Climate Change Impacts Workers and Workers’ Compensation

While everyone is affected by climate change, it’s those on the front lines who feel it the most – those who work outdoors, in hot indoor environments, or in emergency response.

White Paper Summary

While climate change affects everyone, certain workers – coined as “climate canaries” by the American Journal of Public Health – are especially vulnerable. These include outdoor workers, indoor workers in hot environments, and emergency response workers. Depending on the type of weather event, these workers may suffer anything from heat illnesses to respiratory illnesses to physical and mental health effects – any of which can lead to injury or death.

In workers’ compensation, climate change remains a top-of-mind issue for insurance executives. Plus, occupational injuries and fatalities due to climate change are increasing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries shows that fatalities due to temperature extremes increased 18.6% in 2022.

While working conditions are largely under the control of employers, workers are vulnerable to climate hazards because they may not have access to necessities like adequate drinking water, sunscreen, protective garments, rest, and shade. Many large employers implement safety programs and training for their workers to mitigate climate hazards. However, many more small and mid-sized employers do not have such programs in place.

For more content like this from Healthesystems visit their RxInformer clinical journal website.

Healthesystems is a leading provider of Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) & Ancillary Benefits Management programs for the workers' compensation industry.

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