2023 NORA Symposium: Changing the Climate of Worker Health and Safety

2023 NORA Symposium: Changing the Climate of Worker Health and Safety

JUNE 2023

From rural communities to large cities, climate change impacts the health of people all over the world.

As climate change worsens, extreme weather-related events like droughts, floods, wildfires, and heat waves are becoming more common. This may slow the production and transportation of food, increase the spread of disease, make it harder for some to get the food and healthcare they need, and cause stress and mental health problems. Those working outdoors, migrating for work, and responding to disasters will likely be most impacted. For farmers, extreme weather may make working outdoors more dangerous. Changes in long-term weather patterns from climate change may also make it harder to grow certain crops.

We need everyone on board to find ways to prepare for the impacts of climate change to prevent injury and illness.

To continue this conversation, the Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety (MCOHS) and the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH) co-hosted the NORA online symposium on April 27, 2023. This symposium brought together experts to discuss how climate change will impact environmental, social, mental, and physical health.

2023 NORA Online Symposium
April 27, 2023

Watch the virtual poster presentations and panel discussion in this YouTube playlist.

2023 NORA Symposium: Changing the climate of worker health and safety

The 2023 National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Online Symposium was held via online webinar on April 27, 2023. The theme was “Changing the Climate of Worker Health and Safety: A Forum on Lessons and Actions to Foster a Resilient Workforce.”

The symposium featured presentations and interactive discussion with a panel of experts on the effects of climate change on worker health and safety in a variety of industries and workplaces. This year’s event was once again held in an online-only format. Nearly 100 participants from across the country joined the webinar.

NORAThe National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) is a program with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to stimulate innovative research and improved workplace practices. The NORA Symposium is an annual event that brings people together to discuss and learn about a particular topic related to one of the NORA occupational health and safety agendas. The Symposium typically features a research poster session by graduate students and occupational health and safety researchers, followed by a keynote speaker and/or moderated panel discussion. Originally sponsored solely by the Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety (MCOHS), for the past several years, the NORA Symposium has been co-sponsored as a partnership between MCOHS and UMASH.

Moderated Panel Discussion

A panel of national and regional experts presented, discussed, and answered questions about how climate change threatens worker health and safety across various industries. These experts shared the importance of emergency planning and preparedness to shield workers from climate-related exposures. Such planning can be informed by the current experiences of wildland firefighters, who are currently exposed to many occupational hazards as wildfires intensify and become more frequent. The panel also discussed the role regulatory agencies have in monitoring working conditions to ensure that workers stay healthy and safe in a changing climate.  The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Jeff Bender, UMASH Director.

Watch the recorded panel presentations and discussion


Virtual Poster Presentations

The symposium began with video poster presentations by UMASH and MCOHS researchers and students on a variety of public health topics.

What Attendees Had to Say:

Climate change is having and will have a significant impact on occupational health.

The lessons and actions shared during this year’s NORA Symposium underscored the importance of preparedness and training to foster a resilient workforce. UMASH is invested in applying these lessons through research and outreach to promote safety and health among those in agricultural work.