Changing patterns of heat waves are part of the global warming effect and the importance of changes is reinforced by their negative impact on society. Firstly, heat waves were analyzed in Brnik (Slovenia) and Larisa (Greece) in the period 1981⁻2017 to reflect the environment which workers are exposed to. Secondly, outdoor workers (70 from Greece, 216 from Slovenia) provided a self-assessment of heat stress. The heat wave timeline is presented as an effective way of illustrating long-term changes in heat waves' characteristics for various stakeholders. In both countries, workers assessed as significant the heat stress impact on productivity (Greece 69%, Slovenia 71%; p > 0.05), and in Slovenia also on well-being (74%; p < 0.01). The main experienced symptoms and diseases were thirst (Greece 70%, Slovenia 82%; p = 0.03), excessive sweating (67%, 85%; p = 0.01), exhaustion (51%, 62%; p > 0.05) and headache (44%, 53%; p > 0.05). The most common way to reduce heat stress was drinking more water (Greece 64%, Slovenia 82%; p = 0.001). Among the informed workers, the prevalent source of information was discussions. Therefore, educational campaigns are recommended, together with the testing of the efficiency of mitigation measures that will be proposed on the Heat-Shield project portal.
Keywords: climate change; heat stress; heat wave; occupational health; outdoor workers; productivity.