As global warming proceeds, weather-related extreme heat exposure places many types of indoor and outdoor workers at risk of heat-related illnesses, as well as increasing the risk of occupational injury and accidents. Elevation in core temperature and dehydration can lead to negative behavioural effects such as physical fatigue, impaired judgement, reduced coordination, concentration and psychological distress which can compromise workplace safety. Workplace heat exposure is presenting an increasing challenge for occupational health and safety professionals, particularly for manual workers e.g. construction workers, firefighters, miners, farmers and manufacturing workers. 

The aim of this research is to explore the potential relationship between occupational injuries and illnesses and temperatures in Queensland and to determine whether exposure to hot temperatures contributes to the risk of occupational injuries and illnesses among Queensland workers. This exploratory data analysis will correlate the data from the Qld Employee Injury Data Base administered by WorkCover Queensland and weather data and heat indices data administered by the Bureau of Meteorology. The data will be assembled for the period 2009-2014.Trends identified in particular regions of Queensland or in particular industries will be further investigated. 

To date there is limited research globally on the relationship between temperature and occupational/injuries and illnesses. There is also a lack of awareness within Government, industry and the community that heat exposure can increase the risk of occupational injuries and accidents due to negative behavioural effects.

Advisors: Prof Michael Capra

Project members

Cassie Madigan

Cassie Madigan

MPhil candidate