Estimating Occupational Heat Exposure from Personal Sampling of Public Works Employees in Birmingham, Alabama

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). Objective: This study investigated whether using thermometers clipped on workers' shoes would result in different heat exposure estimation and work-rest schedules compared with using area-level meteorological data alone. Methods: Alabama workers (n = 51) were individually monitored using thermometers on shoes. Wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) was estimated using thermometer temperatures (WBGT [personal]) or nearby weather station temperatures (WBGT [WS]). Work-rest schedules were determined from WBGT, clothing, and hourly metabolic rates estimated from self-reported tasks and bodyweight. Results: The percent of hours exceeding the threshold limit value (TLV®, ACGIH, Cincinnati, OH) were estimated at 47.8% using WBGT (personal) versus 42.1% using WBGT (WS). For work-rest recommendations, more hours fell into the most protective schedule (0 to 15 min work/45 to 60 min rest) using WBGT (personal) versus WBGT (WS) (17.4% vs 14.4%). Conclusions: Temperatures from wearable thermometers, together with meteorological data, can serve as an additional method to identify occupational heat stress exposure and recommend work-rest schedules.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wang S; Richardson MB; Wu CYH; Cholewa CD; Lungu CT; Zaitchik BF; Gohlke JM
  • Start Page

  • 518
  • End Page

  • 524
  • Volume

  • 61
  • Issue

  • 6