Climate Hazards and Resilience in the Workplace: new resources to respond to climate risks in workplace settings

Responding to the climate emergency requires a rapid transition to net zero, but it also needs us to adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change on temperature, rainfall, sea level rise and extreme weather events.

All workers whether they work indoors, outdoors, offshore or travel for a living are increasingly vulnerable to disruption, damage, and potential injury from climate change impacts such as windstorms, flooding, and heatwaves. However, well planned adaptation action to increase climate resilience can also address other workplace challenges; and deliver a wide range of cobenefits for physical and mental wellbeing, productivity, welfare, and nature. Done well, adaptation can transform our poorest communities and could present massive opportunities for Scotland’s workers and industries.

Over the last year Adaptation Scotland and the Scottish Trade Union movement have worked together to cocreate resources to respond to climate risks in the workplace. The new Climate Hazards and Resilience in the Workplace handbook and workbook help trade union workplace reps, workers, and employers to identify the hazards that climate change impacts could bring to a range of different workplaces. These new resources also offer practical guidance to adapt workplaces and workplace practices to minimise the harms and maximise any opportunities which could arise from Scotland’s changing climate.

The resources combine the latest climate change science and the lived experience of trade union representatives from across Scotland.

The new resources comprise:

  • A handbook which makes the case for adaptation from a Trade Union (and broader just transition) perspective including examples of how climate impacts are already impacting schools, offices, shops, depots, warehousing, care homes, hospitals, and outdoor workplace settings.
  • A workbook which takes users on a step-by-step journey in identifying potential climate change hazards in their workplace and provides information to help union officers and reps in Scotland take action to build resilience and protect workers from the unavoidable impacts of climate change.
  • There are also webinar recordings which explore climate risks and how to build resilience in the workplace.

You can access these resources and find out more information about the project here:

Welcoming the new publications, Just Transition Minister Richard Lochhead said:

“We are already experiencing climate change here in Scotland, with extreme weather events and rising sea levels becoming more prevalent. Communities, businesses, and workplaces across Scotland will need to adapt.

“These resources, which were designed with trade unions, provide practical tools to build resilient workplaces and protect workers from climate change impacts such as windstorms, flooding, and heatwaves.

“Workers’ voices and innovation will be crucial. These resources provide invaluable support for delivering on a just transition to a climate resilient, net zero Scotland.”

Roz Foyer STUC General Secretary welcomed the STUC being part of this important partnership and said:

“The effects of climate change, whilst they are felt most acutely in the global south, are already affecting our health and our safety here in Scotland. In the period ahead, more workers will be required to create the adaptations to buildings, roads, rail and all of our infrastructure to increase resilience in the face of extreme weather events. Our buildings including our workplaces will need to undergo adaptation and retrofit to reduce their carbon footprint but they will also need to be decent, comfortable places to work and for the general public to be in.

Consultation and worker’s voice must be central to this process of adaptation, just as we expect it to be in health and safety and the setting of the terms and conditions of employment. Just transition, including workplace adaptation must be a key element of the bargaining agenda as we move forward.”

Anna Beswick, Programme Manager of the Adaptation Scotland programme said

“Adaptation Scotland is delighted to join forces with trade unionists from across Scotland to combine learning from the latest science with the lived experience of how climate extremes and the changing climate are already impacting Scotland’s workers.”

“Without adaptation climate hazards like flooding, storms and drought could threaten health and safety and business continuity. The new Climate Hazards and Resilience in the Workplace handbook and workbook communicate the social justice implications of climate hazards and provide readers with practical considerations to increase resilience, protect health and safety and business continuity, that should be factored into decision making.”

Download the new resources here: