Too Hot for Work: How Qatar Offers Lessons to the Economy of a Heating Planet

Too Hot for Work: How Qatar Offers Lessons to the Economy of a Heating Planet

To tell this story for TIME, the reporting team of Aryn Baker, Ed Kashi and Tom Laffay kicks off on the 2022 FIFA World Cup construction sites in Qatar, introducing viewers to a largely Nepali workforce that helped build the new infrastructure. They examine the high number of fatalities and accidents among workers over the past ten years, many of which, according to experts, are related to heat. After international criticism, Qatar’s government made major reforms last year to protect its workforce from high temperatures, but it was already too late for most migrant workers.

The story takes readers to Nepal, where several villages have welcomed home workers who are now suffering from chronic kidney disease. We speak with the chief of nephrology department at Kathmandu Central Hospital to discuss the implications for a country that has only a handful of dialysis machines. We also visit the recruitment centers to learn how they inform their clients about the risk of heat exposure.

Finally, we turn to the United States, where a few states have already enacted worker protection laws that provide adequate rest, shade, and water for outdoor workers to reduce exposure. But to implement those simple rules at the national level was an uphill battle.

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