The Problem

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Singapore’s climate is getting warmer, with the average ambient temperature rising year-on-year. This has been the trend for many cities around the world – a phenomenon attributed to global warming and the urban heat island effect.

 

Our tropical climate means that people are chronically exposed to hot conditions. While we have psychologically adapted to our climate, its impact on our health and wellbeing has not diminished. People whose vocations are based outdoors are particularly vulnerable to environmental heat, which can be detrimental to health, well-being, and work productivity. If workers cannot or do not take rest in relation to heat stress, accidents, and serious health effects such as heat stroke death can occur.

 

Our approach

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Project Heatsafe seeks to understand the complex threat that heat-exposure poses to human health, well-being, and work productivity in Singapore and other tropical countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia; and to identify sustainable preventive policies and actions that can reduce these impacts.

 

Methodologically, this project combines disciplinary approaches that are utilized discretely and in multi-disciplinary ways to generate rich data and analyze the complex ways in which heat impacts health and performance. This involves the spatial, temporal, and other interactions of physical and social systems, including local environmental conditions, climate, thermal physiology, health and perceived health impacts, economic impacts analysis, and social practices.

Our Objectives

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  • To collect accurate climate data across various sites in Singapore that is representative of heat stress;

  • To measure the impact of heat stress on workers' productivity and wellbeing via physiological measurements and ethnographical surveys;

  • To understand the knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of heat-related risks and behaviors to heat-exposure (as well as their determinants) from employers, workers, and the families;

  • To analyze the impact of chronic heat-stress on female and male fertility and reproductive health;

  • To assess the economic costs of heat on the economy due to productivity loss at the industry and country-level;

  • To evaluate policy intervention and measures that could mitigate the adverse effects of heat across different industries.