Nowadays, no studies have been published on the relationship between meteorological conditions and work-related mortality and morbidity in Italy. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between hot weather conditions and hospital admissions due to work-related accidents in Tuscany (central Italy) over the period 1998-2003. Apparent temperature (AT) values were calculated to evaluate human weather discomfort due to hot conditions and then tested for work accident differences using non-parametric procedures. Present findings showed that hot weather conditions might represent a risk factor for work-related accidents in Italy during summer. In particular early warming days during June, characterized by heat discomfort, are less tolerated by workers than warming days of the following summer months. The peak of work-related accidents occurred on days characterized by high, but not extreme, thermal conditions. Workers maybe change their behaviour when heat stress increases, reducing risks by adopting preventive measures. Results suggested that days with an average daytime AT value ranged between 24.8°C and 27.5°C were at the highest risk of work-related accidents. In conclusion, present findings might represent the first step for the development of a watch/warning system for workers that might be used by employers for planning work activities.
2006 by National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health