Volume 51 (2013) Issue 1 Pages 25-33
In the context of climate change, concomitant exposure to heat stress and chemicals takes on great importance. However, little information is available in this regard. The purpose of this research, therefore, was to develop an approach aimed at identifying worker groups that would be potentially most at risk. The approach comprises 5 consecutive steps: – Establishment of a list of occupations for all industry sectors – Determination of heat stress parameters – Identification of occupations at risk of heat stress – Determination of exposure to chemicals – Identification of occupations potentially most at risk. Overall, 1,010 occupations were selected due to their representativeness of employment sectors in Québec. Using a rating matrix, the risk stemming from exposure to heat stress was judged “critical” or “significant” for 257 occupations. Among these, 136 occupations were identified as showing a high potential of simultaneous exposure to heat stress and chemicals. Lastly, a consultation with thirteen experts made it possible to establish a list of 22 priority occupations, that is, 20 occupations in the metal manufacturing sector, as well as roofers and firefighters. These occupations would merit special attention for an investigation and evaluation of the potential effects on workers’ health.