Over 30 journalists have teamed up to uncover the realities of working under extreme temperatures, and the lack of oversight and government legislation that allows heat-related illness and death to persist. As climate change is warming the planet and making conditions for workers hotter and hotter, this investigation looks at laborers in Spain, Italy, France and Qatar in the agriculture and construction sectors, who continue to be unprotected against this growing threat to their well-being.
Heat stroke is one of the world’s oldest known medical conditions. But as scientists show that heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses are an increasingly deadly threat to workers in Europe, little is being done to protect them.
How increasingly hotter summers have turned the country’s agricultural fields into a battleground for those trying to make a living, while struggling to stay alive.
How one worker’s death — after working for 13 hours with temperatures reaching 41ºC — reveals insufficient state regulation and corporate negligence.
With heat waves becoming more intense, experts warn that the inability of the French state and companies to protect workers will cost more lives in the coming years. David, a 50-year-old worker, died on a construction site last summer in France when temperatures reached 35°C.
In Qatar, workers toiled for hours in temperatures above 40ºC on construction sites, with few breaks in between, and even fewer protections.
Huelva, part of Spain’s southwestern autonomous region of Andalusia, has become the main strawberry and blueberry producing and exporting region in all of Europe. Despite the economic benefits, seasonal workers in Spain continue to live in a situation called the “fourth world”.