Policy Solution

Occupational hazard policies

Mandate

Overview:

Summary: Heat exposure can lead to occupational illnesses and injuries, especially for workers that work outside and do physical labor. Adjusting working or school hours can minimize worker heat exposure during the hottest hours of the day and mitigate risk. In addition to schedule adjustments, employers should provide breaks, proper hydration, and acclimization periods to protect workers.

Implementation: Set minimum requirements for employers to create mandatory heat stress rules. As an example this can include: schedule adjustments to avoid the hottest times of day, monitoring workers for signs of heat-related illness, frequent breaks, train workers for emergencies, provide water and shade, among others.

Considerations for Use: Employees or other impacted stakeholders should be consulted in development of the policy. Enforce penalties for employers who fail to comply. Make sure that there are accountability measures for employees to report their employers if necessary.

  • Policy Levers: The mechanism municipalities can use to actualize the intervention. These policy levers will likely be used in combination with each other.

    MandateMandates are government regulations that require stakeholders to meet standards through building codes, ordinances, zoning policies, or other regulatory tools.
  • Trigger Points: Opportunities for municipalities to implement risk reduction and preparedness interventions based on the policy lever, building on the United Nations Environment Programme triggers used in the Beating the Heat handbook (2021).

    No-regrets actions (low cost/low effort but substantial benefit)Interventions that are relatively low-cost and low effort (in terms of requisite dependencies) but have substantial environmental and/or social benefits.
  • Intervention Type:
    Planning/Policy
  • Sectors:
    City Administration, Economic Development, Emergency management, Public Health,

    Impact:

  • Target Beneficiaries:
    Residents; Heat-vulnerable communities
  • Phase of Impact:
    Emergency response and management
  • Metrics:
    Number of workers impacted by occupational policy changes

Implementation:

  • Intervention Scale:
    City; State/Province
  • Authority and Governance:
    City government; State/provincial government
  • Implementation Timeline:
    Short-term (1-2 Years)
  • Implementation Stakeholders:
    Array
  • Funding Sources:
    Private investment; Public investment
  • Capacity to Act:
    Medium; High

    Benefits:

  • Cost-Benefit:
    Low
  • Public Good:
    Medium
  • GHG Reduction:
    N/A
  • Co-benefits (Climate/Environmental):
    N/A
  • Co-benefits (Social):
    Improve human health