Modern Occupational Diseases Diagnosis, Epidemiology, Management and Prevention

Occupational Disease in the 21st Century: COVID-19, Climate Change, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Author(s): Kelly M. Hager, Brian Linde and Carrie A. Redlich * .

Pp: 1-24 (24)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815049138122010004

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


The beginning of the 21st century is experiencing tremendous social, political, and technological changes, combined with unprecedented climate change. Recent trends towards non-standard employment, growing economic and health disparities, and the decline of unions have served to undercut worker health and safety protections. Traditional workplace hazards remain important and preventable contributors to injuries and illness while new and/or newly recognized work factors are also becoming apparent. To meet the needs of the changing times, the traditional focus of occupational safety and health on industrial hazards is shifting toward a more holistic framework that incorporates other work stressors, underlying disparities, and the interactions with non-work factors. In this chapter, the major issues affecting workers today are examined through the two defining public health crises of our time, the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. Initial lessons and observations from these global challenges inform the direction occupational safety and health will take to protect workers and prepare for an uncertain future. 

Keywords: COVID-19, Climate change, Heat stress, Health disparities, Health, Occupational disease, Occupational safety, Work organization.

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