DAK survey: Climate change makes heat the biggest health risk in Germany

According to a survey, almost one and one in four employees in Germany feel severely stressed at work in the heat.

DAK survey: Climate change makes heat the biggest health risk in Germany

According to a survey, almost one and one in four employees in Germany feel severely stressed at work in the heat. 23 percent stated such a high burden in the survey commissioned by the health insurance company DAK, which is available to the German Press Agency and is to be presented in Berlin this Friday. That's around ten million people.

CEO Andreas Storm said: “Heat is the biggest health risk in Germany caused by climate change – also for employees.” When it comes to climate and heat protection, a shift in awareness and more education are necessary. “A broad alliance of actors must work for a resilient working world that is sustainable for both people and the environment,” says Storm.

According to the survey, around 69 percent of employees see extreme temperatures limiting their performance. 19 percent have heat-related health problems. "Our report shows alarmingly how heatwaves are already affecting working conditions and impacting employees' well-being, health and performance," said Storm.

According to the survey, certain professional groups are particularly affected in hot weather. Of the nursing staff surveyed, 49 percent said they were under a lot of stress. In the construction industry or in the trades it was 28 percent. Overall, working in high temperatures often leads to reduced performance: A good half of those surveyed (53 percent) said they were not as productive as usual. 42 percent said they had difficulty concentrating in high heat.

According to the survey, 19 percent of all employees have health problems due to extreme temperatures. “It is alarming that almost one in five employees is aware of heat-related health problems,” said Professor Volker Nürnberg, who supported the survey as an expert in occupational health management. Companies would have to promptly adapt all work processes and procedures to heat periods and take measures to protect employees.

For the “DAK Health Report”, the opinion research institute Forsa surveyed around 7,000 employees between the ages of 18 and 65 between August 22 and September 8, 2023. All counts and analyzes were carried out by the Iges Institute based on the raw data set taken over from Forsa. In addition, other data sources were used for the report. Among other things, the data from 2.4 million employed DAK insured people were evaluated.

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