Heat-related illness

In brief

  • Studies have documented increased rates of death and illness during periods of only moderate heat, especially in places, like BC, that typically experience more temperate weather.
  • Individuals who work in environments where they cannot control their exposure to high temperatures, including both those who work outdoors and those who work indoors in environments that are not climate-controlled, may be particularly susceptible to heat-related illness.
  • We identified cases of heat-related illness occurring among workers age 15 and older from WorkSafeBC records of accepted lost-time claims and calculated incidence rates for heat-related illness by age, sex, occupation, and over time
  • We found higher rates of illness among male workers, younger workers, and in primary industry, trades, and manufacturing.
  • identification of groups at higher risk can inform the development of prevention policy and practices, which are especially critical in light of projected increases in temperatures due to climate change.

Next steps

  • PhD student Xiaocong Guo is studying the effect of extreme heat on heat-related illness and injury among workers, and the identification of at-risk workers to be prioritized for changes to policy and practice.

Related publications

Heat-related illness among workers in British Columbia, 2001-2020

Journal article
Weinberger K, Tamburic L, Peters C, McLeod C.
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: November 28, 2022 – Volume – Issue – 10.1097/JOM.0000000000002761.

Heat-related illness among workers in British Columbia

Research brief
Vancouver, BC: Partnership for Work, Health and Safety; 2022.

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