Journal of Community Medicine & Health Education
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Introduction: Exposure to excessive heat at workplace is commonly encountered with multitude of health and social impacts. Workers
experience a wide range of health impacts like heat exhaustion, heat cramps etc which can cause unsafe conditions and discomfort leading
to reduced performance and over a period of time result in severe health related illness. Because of the inter-individual differences in
tolerating heat, it is important to know the view of the workers regarding the heat stress.
Objective: To qualitatively evaluate the transport workers perception using a standardized questionnaire regarding the heat stress and
its health impacts.
Materials and Methods: Transport workers were interviewed using standardized HOTHAPS questionnaire. Area Heat stress assessments
were measured using Quest Temp WBGT monitor.
Results: Heat stress measurements (WBGT) ranged from 28.1 - 32oC during the period of December 2012 in Chennai, South India.
Workers reported a myriad of symptoms related to heat stress. Almost 80% of the workers felt that hot weather was a problem and it
affected their performance substantially. Around 50% of workers complained of muscle cramps, excessive sweating and thirst. 8% of
workers gave a history of severe heat exhaustion, and syncope. 40% of workers felt heat stress impacted their work as they have to avail
more leave due to excessive heat and thereby affected their productivity and income.
Discussion and Conclusions: This study has highlighted the subjective feelings of the workers regarding the social and health impacts of
heat stress. Implementation of interventions and health education will be effective if done in conjunction with knowledge of the workers
perception regarding their work environment. Qualitative measurement of workers perception is an effective method to evaluate the
heat stress along with the environmental measurements.
Archana P. Kumar has completed her MBBS from The Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR University in 2001 and completed her MD from Sri Ramachandra
University. At present she is doing her Ph.D. at Sri Ramachandra University under the guidance of Prof. Padmavathi R. and Prof. Vidhya Venugopal.
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