Intra-urban risk assessment of occupational injuries and illnesses associated with current and projected climate: Evidence from three largest Australian cities

Syeda Hira Fatima, Paul Rothmore, Lynne C. Giles, Peng Bi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: Increased risk of occupational injuries and illnesses (OI) is associated with ambient temperature. However, most studies have reported the average impacts within cities, states, or provinces at broader scales. Methods: We assessed the intra-urban risk of OI associated with ambient temperature in three Australian cities at statistical area level 3 (SA3). We collected daily workers’ compensation claims data and gridded meteorological data from July 1, 2005, to June 30, 2018. Heat index was used as the primary temperature metric. We performed a two-stage time series analysis: we generated location-specific estimates using Distributed Lag Non-Linear Models (DLNM) and estimated the cumulative effects with multivariate meta-analysis. The risk was estimated at moderate heat (90th percentile) and extreme heat (99th percentile). Subgroup analyses were conducted to identify vulnerable groups of workers. Further, the OI risk in the future was estimated for two projected periods: 2016–2045 and 2036–2065. Results: The cumulative risk of OI was 3.4% in Greater Brisbane, 9.5% in Greater Melbourne, and 8.9% in Greater Sydney at extreme heat. The western inland regions in Greater Brisbane (17.4%) and Greater Sydney (32.3%) had higher risk of OI for younger workers, workers in outdoor and indoor industries, and workers reporting injury claims. The urbanized SA3 regions posed a higher risk (19.3%) for workers in Greater Melbourne. The regions were generally at high risk for young workers and illness-related claims. The projected risk of OI increased with time in climate change scenarios. Conclusions: This study provides a comprehensive spatial profile of OI risk associated with hot weather conditions across three cities in Australia. Risk assessment at the intra-urban level revealed strong spatial patterns in OI risk distribution due to heat exposure. These findings provide much-needed scientific evidence for work, health, and safety regulators, industries, unions, and workers to design and implement location-specific preventative measures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115855
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental Research
Volume228
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Australia
  • Climate change
  • DLNM
  • Location-specific risk assessment
  • Occupational injuries and illnesses

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