Comprehension of climatic and occupational heat stress amongst agricultural advisers and workers in Slovenia

Tjaša POGAČAR, Zalika ČREPINŠEK, Lučka KAJFEŽ BOGATAJ, Lars NYBO

Abstract


Climate changes and the associated higher frequency of heat waves in Middle-European countries will aggravate occupational heat stress experienced by Slovenian workers. Appropriate behavioral adaptations are important coping strategies and it is pertinent to establish if knowledge among advisers and workers is sufficient and identify the symptoms experienced by workers. Therefore a survey including 230 farmers and 86 agricultural advisers was completed. Thermal comfort ranged from hot to extremely hot for 85 ± 5 % of farmers working outside and heat stress had a negative impact on well-being (74 ± 6 %), productivity (68 ± 6 %) and concentration (34 ± 6 %). Reported symptoms were excessive sweating (84 ± 5 %), thirst (81 ± 5 %), and tiredness (59 ± 6 %). Women had a higher prevalence of headache (64 ± 10 %) compared to males (47 ± 8 %), higher frequency of fatigue (69 ± 10 vs 56 ± 8 %), and incidents with nausea or vomiting (19 ± 8 vs 9 ± 5 %). 81 ± 4 % of the responders reported that more time is required to complete tasks when the weather is hot. Nevertheless, 61 ± 6 % of farmers have never been informed of the impacts of heat stress and 29 ± 10 % of the agricultural advisers does not include this information in their guidance. This emphasizes the need for increased information and implementation of feasible solutions to mitigate the negative impact of heat stress on workers in the agricultural sector.


Keywords


heat stress; labor; farmers; agricultural advisers; health; well-being

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14720/aas.2017.109.3.06

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Copyright (c) 2017 Tjaša Pogačar, Zalika Črepinšek, Lučka Kajfež Bogataj, Lars Nybo

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ISSN 1581-9175     eISSN 1854-1941