2.50
Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10755/152889
Type:
Presentation
Title:
Assessing Heat Stress in Agricultural Field Workers
Abstract:
Assessing Heat Stress in Agricultural Field Workers
Conference Sponsor:Sigma Theta Tau International
Conference Year:2002
Conference Date:July, 2002
Author:Elberson, Karen, PhD
P.I. Institution Name:East Carolina University
Title:Associate Professor
Hot and humid summers challenge individuals to stay cool when working outside. Hispanic farm laborers work in farm fields almost every day during the summer. Exposure to direct sun with limited convection and evaporation increases body heat production. If more heat is produced than can be dissipated, potential exists for the body to exceed its capacity for adjustment to heat stressors and can lead to heat-related illness. Heat-related illness can range from minor to life threatening conditions. Over the past several years in North Carolina, three reported events related to heat stroke resulted in one Hispanic farm worker dying; one living in a vegetative state and returning to Mexico; and one who recovered. Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of environmental heat on the physiological health status of Hispanic farm workers. Design: Survey questionnaires were used to collect subjective data from participants. Quantitative data were collected in the field from physiological measures on each subject and environmental measures from instruments strategically located in the field. Population, Sample, Setting, Years: In the summer of 2001, farm field research was conducted on 20 Hispanic farm workers in a cucumber field located in eastern North Carolina. Data collection occurred over a period of several days with the same study population. Concepts or Variables Studied Together: Variables studied were physiological measures of temperature, pulse, respirations, blood pressure (supine and standing), and cognitive function. Observations regarding appearance (clothing worn, perspiration, etc.) were recorded. Self-reported data such as foods eaten and hydration activities the night and morning before reporting to work were recorded. In addition, workday break and lunch intakes were documented. Productivity, measured by baskets picked over the period of the workday, was determined. Concurrently, environmental measures to determine heat load in the field were obtained. Methods: Model farm owners were invited to be a part of this study. Those who agreed to participate were interviewed. Next, the Hispanic farm workers were visited in their living quarters where the study was explained in Spanish and informed consent was obtained. Twenty of the 22 workers participated in the study. A small compensation to make up for time lost from work was provided to each participant. An enrollment form was used to collect initial subject data. A daily collection form reviewing the prior day's work history, nutrition and hydration activities and documenting baseline data for the current workday was used. Two research teams comprised of a nurse, a culturally competent student from a Mexican agricultural university who served as interpreter, and a trained assistant collected physiological measures from each subject every one to one and a half hours during the workday. Each data collection team followed no more than 10 subjects. Another team member documented data related to heat load obtained from environmental instruments at three locations in the field. At the end of the workday, each subject participated in an exit interview addressing individual plans for preparing for the next workday. Regression analysis, paired independent t-tests, cross tabulations, analysis of variance, and factor analysis were conducted on data obtained. Findings: The heat load of a field was much higher than the heat index reported by the National Weather Service at the local airport. Heat index varied depending on the type of crop and location in the field. Stands of trees bordering some farm fields, as well as the presence of ponds, rivers, or creeks raised the heat index in the work site anywhere from 2-8 degrees. Type of crop affected labor intensity and repetitive motion such as bending and lifting throughout the day. Productivity and cognition were inversely related to the heat and humidity. Increase in the heat index yielded an increase in body temperature. After an increase in heat by one degree, a decrease in cognition and productivity was observed. Conclusions: Findings of this study provide baseline data for Phase 2: Intervention. Through observation and assessment, researchers gained insight into effects of heat in relation to farm labor and environmental field conditions. Implications: Information gained from this study will be used to develop therapeutic interventions for implementation in Phase 2. Identification and incorporation of best practices in the field should improve farm workers' sense of well-being, their cognitive function, and their productivity. In addition, educational programs based on findings of this study and subsequent intervention studies potentially will benefit both farm workers and farm owners by promoting health, preventing heat-related illness, and increasing productivity and remuneration.

Repository Posting Date:
26-Oct-2011
Date of Publication:
Jul-2002
Sponsors:
Sigma Theta Tau International

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.typePresentationen_GB
dc.titleAssessing Heat Stress in Agricultural Field Workersen_GB
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10755/152889-
dc.description.abstract<table><tr><td colspan="2" class="item-title">Assessing Heat Stress in Agricultural Field Workers</td></tr><tr class="item-sponsor"><td class="label">Conference Sponsor:</td><td class="value">Sigma Theta Tau International</td></tr><tr class="item-year"><td class="label">Conference Year:</td><td class="value">2002</td></tr><tr class="item-conference-date"><td class="label">Conference Date:</td><td class="value">July, 2002</td></tr><tr class="item-author"><td class="label">Author:</td><td class="value">Elberson, Karen, PhD</td></tr><tr class="item-institute"><td class="label">P.I. Institution Name:</td><td class="value">East Carolina University</td></tr><tr class="item-author-title"><td class="label">Title:</td><td class="value">Associate Professor</td></tr><tr class="item-email"><td class="label">Email:</td><td class="value">elbersonk@mail.ecu.edu</td></tr><tr><td colspan="2" class="item-abstract">Hot and humid summers challenge individuals to stay cool when working outside. Hispanic farm laborers work in farm fields almost every day during the summer. Exposure to direct sun with limited convection and evaporation increases body heat production. If more heat is produced than can be dissipated, potential exists for the body to exceed its capacity for adjustment to heat stressors and can lead to heat-related illness. Heat-related illness can range from minor to life threatening conditions. Over the past several years in North Carolina, three reported events related to heat stroke resulted in one Hispanic farm worker dying; one living in a vegetative state and returning to Mexico; and one who recovered. Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of environmental heat on the physiological health status of Hispanic farm workers. Design: Survey questionnaires were used to collect subjective data from participants. Quantitative data were collected in the field from physiological measures on each subject and environmental measures from instruments strategically located in the field. Population, Sample, Setting, Years: In the summer of 2001, farm field research was conducted on 20 Hispanic farm workers in a cucumber field located in eastern North Carolina. Data collection occurred over a period of several days with the same study population. Concepts or Variables Studied Together: Variables studied were physiological measures of temperature, pulse, respirations, blood pressure (supine and standing), and cognitive function. Observations regarding appearance (clothing worn, perspiration, etc.) were recorded. Self-reported data such as foods eaten and hydration activities the night and morning before reporting to work were recorded. In addition, workday break and lunch intakes were documented. Productivity, measured by baskets picked over the period of the workday, was determined. Concurrently, environmental measures to determine heat load in the field were obtained. Methods: Model farm owners were invited to be a part of this study. Those who agreed to participate were interviewed. Next, the Hispanic farm workers were visited in their living quarters where the study was explained in Spanish and informed consent was obtained. Twenty of the 22 workers participated in the study. A small compensation to make up for time lost from work was provided to each participant. An enrollment form was used to collect initial subject data. A daily collection form reviewing the prior day's work history, nutrition and hydration activities and documenting baseline data for the current workday was used. Two research teams comprised of a nurse, a culturally competent student from a Mexican agricultural university who served as interpreter, and a trained assistant collected physiological measures from each subject every one to one and a half hours during the workday. Each data collection team followed no more than 10 subjects. Another team member documented data related to heat load obtained from environmental instruments at three locations in the field. At the end of the workday, each subject participated in an exit interview addressing individual plans for preparing for the next workday. Regression analysis, paired independent t-tests, cross tabulations, analysis of variance, and factor analysis were conducted on data obtained. Findings: The heat load of a field was much higher than the heat index reported by the National Weather Service at the local airport. Heat index varied depending on the type of crop and location in the field. Stands of trees bordering some farm fields, as well as the presence of ponds, rivers, or creeks raised the heat index in the work site anywhere from 2-8 degrees. Type of crop affected labor intensity and repetitive motion such as bending and lifting throughout the day. Productivity and cognition were inversely related to the heat and humidity. Increase in the heat index yielded an increase in body temperature. After an increase in heat by one degree, a decrease in cognition and productivity was observed. Conclusions: Findings of this study provide baseline data for Phase 2: Intervention. Through observation and assessment, researchers gained insight into effects of heat in relation to farm labor and environmental field conditions. Implications: Information gained from this study will be used to develop therapeutic interventions for implementation in Phase 2. Identification and incorporation of best practices in the field should improve farm workers' sense of well-being, their cognitive function, and their productivity. In addition, educational programs based on findings of this study and subsequent intervention studies potentially will benefit both farm workers and farm owners by promoting health, preventing heat-related illness, and increasing productivity and remuneration.<br/><br/></td></tr></table>en_GB
dc.date.available2011-10-26T11:53:53Z-
dc.date.issued2002-07en_GB
dc.date.accessioned2011-10-26T11:53:53Z-
dc.description.sponsorshipSigma Theta Tau Internationalen_GB
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