Climate change could force tradies and other outdoor workers in Australia’s warmest regions to pick up their tools before the sun rises.
A study published in the American Geophysical Union journal Earth’s Future has revealed that outdoor workers will need to start before the crack of dawn in the future to avoid excessive heat stress.
The study by researchers at the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Japan found excessive heat stress reduces the capability of physical labor and leads to economic loss.
Tradies would be clocking on before the crack of dawn by the end of the century due to climate change (stock image)
Researchers said a work shift of 5.7 hours would be required by the end of this century.
‘Although a working time shift was shown to be effective to reduce the effect of heat stress, the required amount of shift was beyond the realistic range unless stringent climate‐change mitigation was achieved,’ the report states.
The study also examined the feasibility of evening shifts.
‘Night shift work has been adopted in a number of industries and daylight saving time has been implemented in many countries,’ it states.
‘Epidemiological studies have indicated that night shift work can increase the risk of disease and occupational accident rates which is caused by the dissociation between the human internal biological clock and activity patterns.’
Australia’s rising temperatures are taking a toll on outdoor workers
The study concluded that a single adaptation measure was not a be‐all‐and‐end‐all solution to climate change.
‘It is obvious that up to around six hours of working time shift is unrealistic and we need to find alternative ways to adapt to climate change,’ lead researcher Jun’ya Takakura said.
‘Perhaps most importantly, climate change mitigation by reducing greenhouse gas emissions certainly contributes to alleviating the challenges to adaptations.’
Excessive heat stress for outdoor workers such as builders reduces capability of physical labor and leads to economic loss (stock image)
With summer just days away, most of Queensland will see temperatures in the mid 30s this week, with Cairns in the state’s north expected to reach 38 degrees on Tuesday.
OzMistNT co-owner Luke Hoolihan welcomed the move if it was proposed in the Northern Territory
‘Starting 4am wouldn’t bother us in the slightest, if it’s cooler, that’s great,’ he told the NT News.
‘Our business is about heat mitigation, so during our installations generally it is a lot cooler anyway.’
Changing work shifts for outdoors workers is just one way Australia will have to adapt to climate change in the years to come (stock image)