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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 21

The evaluation of heat stress through monitoring environmental factors and physiological responses in melting and casting industries workers


1 Department of Occupational Health Engineering, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Tarbiat Modares, Tehran, Iran
2 Department of Occupational Health Engineering, School of Public Health, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
3 Environmental Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
4 Department of Occupational Health Engineering, School of Public Health, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Seyed Bagher Mortazavi
Department of Occupational Health Engineering, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Tarbiat Modares, Tehran
Iran
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Source of Support: University of Tarbiat Modares, Tehran, Iran., Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2277-9183.96144

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Aims: Evaluation of heat stress in workers exposed to hot/dry conditions of melting and casting industry is imperative for management of heat stress. This study aims to compare results of heat strain evaluation by monitoring environmental factors and physiological responses. Materials and Methods: This is a cross-sectional study that was conducted on 51 workers of a large melting and casting company in 2010. Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) index, heart rate and ear canal temperature were measured by WBGT meter, heart rate monitor and personal heat stress monitor, respectively. Physical activity intensity was assessed based on the ratings of perceived exertion (RPE). Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and Pearson correlation test. Results: WBGT index in 64.7% of workstations exceeded 30°C and in 41.2% was over 32°C. The value of WBGT index in 69% of work stations exceeded the threshold limit of the ACGIH standard. The physiological strain index (PSI) in 31% of worker was higher than 5, although its mean measured at 3.8 (1.8). Increase in the ear canal temperature in 64.7% of cases (33 persons) was over 1°C. Correlation between WBGT index with ear canal temperature and PSI index, adjusted body mass index and age, was 0.67 and 0.69 (P < 0.0001). Conclusion: In hot/dry conditions of melting and casting processes, despite moderate correlation between WBGT index with ear canal temperature and PSI index, work-rest cycles of WBGT index is not applicable for many of the workstations. Therefore, heat stress evaluation based on physiological variables probably has higher validity and is more appropriate.


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