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An end to “Hitze­frei”?

Thank good­ness we’re not croco­diles. Other­wise, there might be a shortage of females at some point: Above 34 degrees Celsius, croco­dile offspring become male. The whole thing is called tempe­ra­ture-depen­dent sex determination.

We humans have to struggle with other problems. Statis­ti­cally, the number of “hot days” (highest tempe­ra­ture above 30 degrees Celsius) is slowly but steadily incre­asing, and this has conse­quences for health. Accor­ding to Statista, there were about 47 percent more heat-related deaths in Germany in 2019 than in the period from 2000 to 2005, and one reason for this increase is more frequent periods of hot weather.

However, how can we prevent heat-related inju­ries? In many cases, we have to rely on the actions of others, because going to school or work is unavo­idable even when tempe­ra­tures are high. There is no such thing as “Hitze­frei” for employees, and even in schools it is given less and less often — not least because it contra­dicts the growing all-day care. At least the Occu­pa­tional Safety and Health Act stipu­lates that an employer must take effec­tive measures as soon as there is an air tempe­ra­ture in the room that exceeds 30 degrees Celsius. Above 35 degrees Celsius, the room is no longer suitable as working space. The same applies to schools, of course…

For the first time this year, on June 14, 2023, a nati­on­wide heat action day initiated by the German Medical Asso­cia­tion and KLUG (Deut­sche Allianz Klima­wandel und Gesund­heit e.V. — German Climate Change and Health Alli­ance) called atten­tion to the need for precau­tio­nary measures for extreme heat events. Here, among other things, the focus was also on what active heat protec­tion should now look like in concrete terms. A coll­ec­tion of heat trai­ning courses for various areas (for example, heat-related first aid) is available here:

Infor­ma­tion mate­rials: Heat trai­ning for employees