2013 Volume 51 Issue 1 Pages 86-100
The current system of International Standards (ISO) is assessed to consider whether standards are fit for purpose for the future in the context of climate change. ISO 7243, ISO 7933 and ISO 9886 provide the current ISO system for the assessment of heat stress. These involve a simple monitoring index, an analytical approach and physiological monitoring, respectively. The system relies on accurate measurement of the thermal conditions experienced by the worker (ISO 7726); and estimations of metabolic heat production due to work (ISO 8996) and the thermal properties of clothing (ISO 9920). As well as standards for heat stress assessment, the full range of ISO standards and the physical environment is listed as well as current work and proposed standards. A particular ‘gap’ in anticipating requirements for ISO standards in the future is the link between meteorological data and ISO standards. This is important for predicting the global consequences of a changing climate and anticipating potential impacts on occupational health across countries and cultures.