Occupational Medicine & Health Affairs
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Objectives: The worldwide facts show that climate is changing increasingly over the past decades. Accordingly, the changes in
temperature and precipitation, not only affect the population health but also, it causes labor?s productivity loss. Productivity
loss and low activity is a natural reaction of the body to reduce internal heat generation and temperature and its compensatory
mechanism for balancing the body?s temperature. The aim of this study is the estimation of productivity loss due to exposure
to heat stress in Iran?s outdoor workers.
Methods: This study was done from early spring 2012 to late spring 2013. In this study all the outdoor workers employed in
various occupational groups including farmers, fisheries, fishermen, ranchers, contractors and other outdoor businesses were
considered. Jobs are classified according to worker?s metabolic rate as mentioned in ISO 8996 standard. In order to estimate
the amount of heat exposure in outdoor workers, the wet bulb globe temperature index was used. WBGT estimation was
done based on data from 83 meteorological synoptic stations in 30 provinces by using the proposed formula by Australian
metrological Organizations. In this study it was assumed that all the workers are wearing light clothes so its effect on WBGT
is not considered. All the data using Inverse Distance Weighting was interpolated by using GIS software. WBGT maps were
also demonstrated in whole range of the country and the maps were presented in 4 different seasons. Productivity loss due
toexposure to heat was also calculated by Kjellstrom method.
Result: It was found that, there was a higher WBGT level in summer compared with other seasons, and provinces of
Bushehr(38.87?C)Khozestan (38.54?C) and Sistan and Balouchestan(32.51?C) showed the highest WBGT in Iran. However
provinces of Chaharmalbakhtiyari (26.55?C) and Azarbayejan Gharbi (27.25?C) showed the lowest WBGT in Iran. It was also
observed that the highest productivity loss occurs in summer and 60.6% of provinces showed a heavy productivity loss in this
season.The amount of outdoor workers productivity loss due to heat exposure was found to be nearly 100% in Khuzestan and
Bushehr. According to the results, productivity loss increases as we move from provinces located in North West to South East.
Conclusion: According to the present research, the average productivity loss especially in summer is found to be high in
Iran and this is because of Iran?s specific climatic conditions and distribution of national employment. Productivity loss due
to heat exposure and the growing trend of temperature rise in the coming years is undeniable. Regarding to the important
role of outdoor workers and their extend distribution in Iran, this fact seems very important. Therefore further studies and
adaptation solutions to improve compliance and reduction of the sensitivity from the direct exposure to the solar radiation is
very important and necessary.
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