The Risks associated with Working in Hot Environmental Conditions in Standard Household Utensils Factory

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The present study was conducted in the Standard Household Utensils Factory located in Khartoum North, selected as an example of working in hot environment. The different sections in the plant were described with especial working conditions as regard, to heat generating and humidity sources. Two heat stress indices were used; the heat stress index (HSI) and the wet-bulb globe temperature (WBGT). The thermal environment inside the factory was assessed by measuring air temperature, radiant heat, humidity and air velocity. Heart rate and core body temperature during the working day were measured by digital thermometer and radial pulse rate respectively. A questionnaire was designed in order to obtain information about the study population, occupational health and safety precautions, ill health complaints and accidents related to the different work places. The study revealed that most of workers (64%), had ages between 20-50 year. Nearly three quarters of workers had a low educational level. Also more than half of them (56%) have worked within the range of 5-20 year or more. The daily working hours of most of workers (86.3%) exceeded the recommended daily working hours. Most of the workers (86%) were employed regardless of their health status with the exception of 2%. About 88.2% of the employees were not subjected to any type of preemployment medical examination, and about 92.2% of the employees were not subjected to periodical medical examination. There was high prevalence of ill health complaints or symptoms (84.3%) such as fatigue, spasms, dizziness, headache, fainting, backache, skin itch, ophthalmitis, and allergy of the respiratory system. While the high frequency (35%) prevailed in the furnace section, more than three quarters had one or more accidents during the work, most of which had reoccurred such as burns, cuts, falling of objects on arms or feet, and downfall of body. The study revealed that the recommended precautionary procedures concerning working in hot places were not applied or made available such as heat acclimatization program, fluids and salt replacement program, training and educational courses, personal protective equipments, and engineering control in the plant. The environmental measurements showed that the values of the WBGT and HSI indices exceeded the threshold limit values in the two seasons of summer and autumn, and were within the threshold limit values in winter except at one location, that was in the furnace section. Also it was found that the HSI index was more effective in the area of heavy workload, low humidity, and high air velocity such as the three locations in furnace section, while WBGT index was more applicable in the other locations with high humidity and low air velocity. The physiological measurements of heart rate and core body temperature in three locations of the furnace section revealed that time of work and heat load were more stressful in the two seasons of summer and autumn. While in winter, although work level was high, body temperature did not increase significantly. It is concluded that the workers were exposed to excessive hot conditions ( heat stress) at most of work places which made their safety and health at the risk as reflected by heat related illnesses and work accidents.
Risks,Working , Hot Environmental, Conditions, Standard, Household ,Utensils Factory