“Work in the cold is not only a problem of northern latitudes”
Course leader presentation: Anje Höper
Workers in the Cold, 7th – 9th of March 2023, Scandic Ishavshotel, Tromsø, Norway
Anje Höper, you are one of the course leaders for our upcoming course on Workers in the Cold. Could you give a short presentation of yourself?
I am a specialist in occupational medicine with a PhD in medical physiology. I work both at the University Hospital of North Norway as a medical doctor and at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, where I am leading the research group on occupational health. Living in Northern Norway, I have a special interest in how working in the High North can affect workers. Exposure to cold working conditions is one of its implications, and our research group focuses on this topic as one of its research areas. My personal interest is in both physiologic changes, the consequences of cold exposure in daily life and its possible long term impacts.
Why do you think that “Workers in the Cold” is an important and current issue to discuss in 2023?
In the North, there are a lot of workplaces with cold exposure, e.g. fishing and construction industry, shipping or tourism. Those workers might be a minority, seen from a global perspective, but they comprise an important work force in the region. In addition, work in the cold is not only a problem of northern latitudes. Also further south there are cold workplaces, for example slaughterhouses, cold storages and others, thereby making it a topic of interest also in those regions.
Cold temperatures not only directly affect physiological functions, physical and mental working capacity. They also have indirect, modulating effects. Examples are the impact of thermal protection (winter clothing) on work performance or challenges when using personal protective equipment in cold temperatures. These will be some of the topics of our course.
What do you want to say to the participants of the course?
The course is meant to be useful for people working in different areas of occupational health. By combining theoretical background information and tips for applying knowledge in practice, we will provide “something for everybody”. We hope that the participants will take advantage of breaks and the social program to discuss important topics and increase their networks, while at the same time find time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Tromsø in the winter time.
Thank you Anje!