Experts discuss climate change, occupational health and safety

Featured image for stories related to sustainability

Discussions on the impact climate change poses on occupational health and safety will continue with CIFAL York‘s speaker series events running through May.

The Climate Change and Global Occupational Health and Safety speaker series, co-sponsored by York University’s Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research, will present “Climate Change and Impacts on Mental Health in Occupational Settings” on May 10 and “Climate Governance Through Global Health Diplomacy & Climate Diplomacy” on May 24.

The series, which launched with two events in April, aims to encourage dialogue and knowledge exchange on the concepts of global occupational health and safety in addressing the threats imposed by climate change. There are six webinars in total, with two more planned for June. All events are scheduled for noon to 1 p.m.

Climate change and its related mobility responses can have adverse, and sometimes beneficial, effects on health and health systems. The webinar series will explore how climate threats may also push those with the poorest health to places with fragmented access to health care, exacerbating their health needs. Health services can struggle to ensure adequate and equitable access to care for those affected, and to meet the changing needs of dynamic populations.

According to researchers, the number of both indoor and outdoor worker populations may be particularly vulnerable to climate variations (emergency responders, health care workers, fire fighters, utility workers, farmers, manufacturing workers and transportation workers). Climate conditions can amplify existing health and safety issues and could lead to new unanticipated hazards including high temperatures, air pollution, extreme weather and natural disasters, and biological hazards.

This series aims to examine the extent of the impact of climate change (e.g., climate-sensitive hazards) on human health. To address these challenges warrants an extensive, transdisciplinary approach including health, industry and government partners, say the event organizers.

“Climate Change and Impacts on Mental Health in Occupational Settings” on May 10 will feature speaker Behdin Nowrouzi-Kia, assistant professor, Department of Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science, University of Toronto; founder, Infinity Health Consulting Group; and founder, OT Services North. It will be moderated by York University Assistant Professor Godfred Boateng. Register here for this event.

“Climate Governance Through Global Health Diplomacy & Climate Diplomacy” on May 24 will feature speaker Vijay Kumar Chattu, postdoctoral fellow, ReSTORE Lab, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto; adjunct professor, School of Public Health, University of Alberta; visiting research Fellow, United Nations University (UNU-CRIS), Bruges Belgium; and founder and CEO, Global Health Research and Innovations Canada Inc. (GHRIC), Toronto. Register here for this event.