The HEAT-SHIELD project - Perspectives from an inter-sectoral approach to occupational heat stress.

Affiliation

Morris NB(1), Piil JF(1), Morabito M(2), Messeri A(3), Levi M(4), Ioannou LG(5), Ciuha U(6), Pogačar T(7), Kajfež Bogataj L(7), Kingma B(8), Casanueva A(9), Kotlarski S(10), Spirig C(10), Foster J(11), Havenith G(11), Sotto Mayor T(12), Flouris AD(13), Nybo L(14).
Author information:
(1)Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
(2)Institute of BioEconomy
(IBE) - National Research Council c/o Area di Ricerca di Firenze, Italy; Centre of Bioclimatology - University of Florence, Italy.
(3)Institute of BioEconomy
(IBE) - National Research Council c/o Area di Ricerca di Firenze, Italy; Centre of Bioclimatology - University of Florence, Italy; Department of Agriculture, Food, Environment and Forestry
(DAGRI), University of Florence
(UNIFI), Italy.
(4)Epidemiology Unit, Central Tuscany Local Health Unit, Italy.
(5)Department of Automatics, Biocybernetics, and Robotics, Jožef Stefan Institute, Slovenia; FAME Laboratory, Department of Exercise Science, University of Thessaly, Greece.
(6)Department of Automatics, Biocybernetics, and Robotics, Jožef Stefan Institute, Slovenia.
(7)Department of Agronomy, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
(8)Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Denmark; TNO, The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research, Unit Defence, Safety & Security, The Netherlands.
(9)Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss, Switzerland; Meteorology Group, Dept. Applied Mathematics and Computer Sciences, University of Cantabria, Spain.
(10)Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss, Switzerland.
(11)Environmental Ergonomics Research Centre, School of Design and Creative Arts, Loughborough University, UK.
(12)SIMTECH Laboratory, Transport Phenomena Research Centre, Engineering Faculty of Porto University, Portugal.
(13)FAME Laboratory, Department of Exercise Science, University of Thessaly, Greece.
(14)Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To provide perspectives from the HEAT-SHIELD project (www.heat-shield.eu): a multi-national, inter-sectoral, and cross-disciplinary initiative, incorporating twenty European research institutions, as well as occupational health and industrial partners, on solutions to combat negative health and productivity effects caused by working on a warmer world. METHODS: In this invited review, we focus on the theoretical and methodological advancements developed to combat occupational heat stress during the last five years of operation. RESULTS: We outline how we created climate forecast models to incorporate humidity, wind and solar radiation to the traditional temperature-based climate projections, providing the basis for timely, policy-relevant, industry-specific and individualized information. Further, we summarise the industry-specific guidelines we developed regarding technical and biophysical cooling solutions considering effectiveness, cost, sustainability, and the practical implementation potential in outdoor and indoor settings, in addition to field-testing of selected solutions with time-motion analyses and biophysical evaluations. All recommendations were adjusted following feedback from workshops with employers, employees, safety officers, and adjacent stakeholders such as local or national health policy makers. The cross-scientific approach was also used for providing policy-relevant information based on socioeconomic analyses and identification of vulnerable regions considered to be more relevant for political actions than average continental recommendations and interventions. DISCUSSION: From the HEAT-SHIELD experiences developed within European settings, we discuss how this inter-sectoral approach may be adopted or translated into actionable knowledge across continents where workers and societies are affected by escalating environmental temperatures.