Workers’ Rights Advocates say a new study suggests more than 20 million people are currently living in conditions that are too hot and humid, which can lead to heat-related deaths.
The new study, released Wednesday by the Global Labor Institute, shows that between 2000 and 2014, temperatures in the United States jumped by about 6 degrees Fahrenheit (3.2 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial levels.
This year, the hottest year on record, has already set records across much of the country.
“I think this is a major concern, and we have to start addressing this,” said Lisa Satterfield, the executive director of the Global Workplace Initiative, which commissioned the study.
“We are going to have a major heatwave, and I think we need to address it now, to get people out of the house and to get them back in.”
Satterfield said the study is just one of several that the GLEI is compiling, looking at ways to improve conditions for workers in hot and inhospitable places.
“In this heatwave people will die, because there are not enough heaters, not enough places to cool down, not much space to put a cooler in,” she said.
The study also found that in areas of the U.S. where workers live in hotter conditions, there are higher rates of respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia and coronavirus, and deaths from heart disease.
Satterford said that while the numbers are staggering, there is still a lot more work to do.
“There are a lot of workers out there that don’t have heat,” she told ABC News.
“So we have a lot to do.”
Workers at the auto parts factory where the study was conducted have a hard time getting in and out of their homes, so the researchers used an online tool to measure how hot their homes were.
They found that they were often inside their homes for two hours or more a day, which is the typical duration of heatwave in some areas of North America.
The researchers say this finding is particularly worrisome because heatwave can cause the skin to become dehydrated, which in turn can lead people to become increasingly dehydrated.
In addition, they say, heat can cause workers to become more vulnerable to heat stress and dehydration, which could increase their risk of heat-associated deaths.
“Heatstroke is the single most common health condition in the world,” said Andrew D. Reitz, the lead author of the study, in a statement.
“It can be life threatening, especially for older workers, and it can lead directly to a worker’s death.”
The researchers also found heatwave was linked to more work-related injuries, including:Workers also tend to be at increased risk for respiratory illnesses and respiratory injuries, particularly for people over 50, said Reitz.
“These are people who are working longer hours and who are going through the same physical exertion that many older workers are going into,” he said.
“The average age of a worker is around 50 years old.
We know that older workers who are physically active tend to get more injuries and suffer more from respiratory conditions.”
Reitz said the U-turns in public policy and regulations could be an indication that the U,S.
can be more resilient in dealing with the heatwave.
“We have to get back to working with more public health measures and a more robust policy framework to help address the issue of heat,” he told ABCNews.com.
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said last week that the heat wave was expected to lead to a 2 percent drop in global crop yields in 2015.
The report was released in partnership with the Uplift Network, a global labor advocacy group that was founded in response to the heat-wave in 2012.
The group works to ensure workers are treated with respect and dignity and to raise awareness of workers’ rights.