Heat Strain and Hydration Status of Surface Mine Blast Crew Workers

Objective: Dehydration and symptoms of heat illness are common among the surface mining workforce. This investigation aimed to determine whether heat strain and hydration status exceeded recommended limits.
Methods: Fifteen blast crew personnel operating in the tropics were monitored across a 12-hour shift. Heart rate, core body temperature, and urine-specific gravity were continuously recorded. Participants self-reported fluid consumption and completed a heat illness symptom inventory.
Results: Core body temperature averaged 37.46 ± 0.13°C, with the group maximum 37.98 ± 0.19°C. Mean urine-specific gravity was 1.024 ± 0.007, with 78.6% of samples 1.020 or more. Seventy-three percent of workers reported at least one symptom of heat illness during the shift.
Conclusions: Core body temperature remained within the recommended limits; however, more than 80% of workers were dehydrated before commencing the shift, and tended to remain so for the duration.

Source: Hunt, Andrew P. PhD; Parker, Anthony W. PhD; Stewart, Ian B. PhD. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: April 2014 - Volume 56 - Issue 4 - p 409–414.

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