Ghana has been named among four others in the West African sub region as countries negatively impacted by heat stress as a result of climate change.
The latest International Labour Organization (ILO) report released in July, this year entitled Working on a warmer planet: The impact of heat stress on labour productivity and decent work, mentioned Ghana, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Togo as countries most affected by heat stress on the Africa continent.
Heat stress according to the report, refers to heat in excess of what the body can tolerate without suffering physiological impairment, and it generally occurs at temperatures above 35°C, in high humidity which restricts workers’ physical functions and capabilities, work capacity and thus, productivity.
While it acknowledges the adverse impact of heat stress on the economy of these countries, the new report urged governments and employers to as a matter of urgency, adopt specific regulations and implement effective adaptation measures to reduce the impact of heat stress on workers, as well as protect workers from heat exposure.
“Although it is the government that sets standards, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace and ensuring that working conditions conform to those standards. Health and safety regulations oblige employers to assess risks in the workplace, and to protect workers from recognized serious hazards, including heat-related hazards,” the report said.
According to the report, the effects of climate change on these countries has already contributed to labour productivity losses exceeding 4 per cent of total working hours, and suggesting that by 2030 the percentage of working hours lost will reach levels close to 7 per cent in these and other countries in the sub region.
Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo are also expected to experience labour losses of working hours exceeding 10 per cent within their agric and construction sectors.
The new ILO report draws on climate, physiological and employment data and presents estimates of the current and projected productivity losses at national, regional and global levels.
It then noted that the impact of rising temperatures will vary considerably across countries and sub regions, with Western Africa and Central Africa being the sub regions most affected.
“The countries that are particularly at risk include Benin, Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, Chad and Sudan,” it added.
Benjamin Nana Appiah/www.adrdaily.com