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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(1), 89; doi:10.3390/ijerph13010089

Occupational Heat Stress Profiles in Selected Workplaces in India

1
Department of Environmental Health Engineering, No.1, Ramachandra Nagar Porur, Chennai, Tamilnadu 600116, India
2
Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health, Umeåa University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden
3
School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Birmingham Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
4
Health and Environment International Trust, 168 Stafford Drive, Mapua 7005, Nelson, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: P. Grady Dixon and Scott C. Sheridan
Received: 30 September 2015 / Revised: 21 December 2015 / Accepted: 22 December 2015 / Published: 29 December 2015
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Abstract

Health and productivity impacts from occupational heat stress have significant ramifications for the large workforce of India. This study profiled occupational heat stress impacts on the health and productivity of workers in select organized and unorganized Indian work sectors. During hotter and cooler seasons, Wet Bulb Globe Temperatures (WBGT) were used to quantify the risk of heat stress, according to International workplace guidelines. Questionnaires assessed workers’ perceived health and productivity impacts from heat stress. A total of 442 workers from 18 Indian workplaces participated (22% and 78% from the organized and unorganized sector, respectively). Overall 82% and 42% of workers were exposed to higher than recommended WBGT during hotter and cooler periods, respectively. Workers with heavy workloads reported more heat-related health issues (chi square = 23.67, p ≤ 0.001) and reduced productivity (chi square = 15.82, p ≤ 0.001), especially the outdoor workers. Heat-rashes, dehydration, heat-syncope and urinogenital symptoms were self-reported health issues. Cited reasons for productivity losses were: extended-work hours due to fatigue/exhaustion, sickness/hospitalization and wages lost. Reducing workplace heat stress will benefit industries and workers via improving worker health and productivity. Adaptation and mitigation measures to tackle heat stress are imperative to protect the present and future workforce as climate change progresses. View Full-Text
Keywords: occupational heat stress; health impacts; perception; prevention occupational heat stress; health impacts; perception; prevention
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Venugopal, V.; Chinnadurai, J.S.; Lucas, R.A.I.; Kjellstrom, T. Occupational Heat Stress Profiles in Selected Workplaces in India. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 89.

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