Hot Topic: Workers, Climate Change, and Heat Stress

June 17, 2021
As the metro Boston region baked in temperatures just shy of 100 degrees during a rare five-day June heatwave, thousands of workers experienced conditions that can lead to heat illness and Boston Public School students took MCAS tests in unacceptably hot classrooms. As Massachusetts experiences ever warmer summers, MassCOSH is working with the City of Boston to ensure that the impact of rising temperatures on workers is part of the climate change resiliency conversation. 
MassCOSH is a member of the Community Advisory Board informing Climate Ready Boston in its efforts to develop a citywide heat resilience planning process for the impacts of climate change, increases in extreme heat, and the negative health impacts related to heat exposure. Currently, there is no OSHA standard to prevent heat stress in workers or way to hold employers accountable for preventable heat stress, even though high temperatures can pose health threats including confusion, fatigue, and dehydration. More extreme heat can lead to heatstroke and organ failure, depending on a worker’s environment and how quickly emergency treatment is administered.
MassCOSH will also be taking part in Climate Ready Boston’s Neighborhood Charrettes in June. These neighborhood meetings will focus on developing site-specific solutions to excessive heat. Charettes in Mattapan, Roxbury, and Chinatown took place this week. Dates for meetings in our two office neighborhoods are below. Please email for more information.
Dorchester: Wednesday, June 22 | 6-7 pm
East Boston: Thursday, June 23 | 6-7 pm