Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date

5-2020

Degree Name

Master of Public Health

Department

Environmental, Agricultural & Occupational Health

First Committee Member

Dr. Chandran Achutan

Second Committee Member

Dr. Athena Ramos

Third Committee Member

Dr. Jesse Bell

Abstract

Global climate change has been declared a threat to human health, which includes occupational safety issues. As temperatures continue to increase, heat stress and heat-related illness are occupational safety issues that need to be better understood. Assessments of workplace heat exposures are key to implement appropriate health and safety interventions. This study attempted to assess whether workers’ perception of work environment temperature in a Central Utility Plant was associated with heat-stress prevention behaviors. Therefore, we used a questionnaire to collect Central Utility Plant employees’ demographic characteristics, data regarding their perceived work environment temperatures, and their behaviors related to preventing heat-related illness in the workplace. Fifteen questionnaires were received from the workers at two Central Utility Plants. Although the sample size was small, our analysis from the Chi-square test showed a statistically significant (p < .05) relationship between perceived workplace environments and workers’ heat stress prevention behaviors. Most workers (73%) reported that they regularly drank fluids while working. Although temperatures and humidity in the Central Utility Plants were perceived as normal, 86% of the workers were associated with getting thirsty and drinking fluids. In addition, several prevention measures were administered by the employer at the workplace (such as cold drinking water, cooled rest areas, additional breaks, and electric fans) during warm weather days. Although multiple heat mitigation practices were implemented and followed, we still recommend that Central Utility Plant employers continue to disseminate specific heat-related policies and regulations and regular training on heat stress risk and prevention behaviors.

Available for download on Sunday, October 25, 2020

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