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0229 Risk of heat related illness in latino agricultural workers: core body temperature and work task
  1. Javier Castro,
  2. Diane Mitchell,
  3. Tracey Armitage,
  4. Marc Schenker
  1. University of California, Davis, Davis, California, USA

Abstract

Introduction Environmental heat and work-rate are risk factors for Heat Related Illness (HRI). Work-rate by task and core temperature have not been quantified in California farmworkers.

Methods Farmworkers were monitored for one work-shift each in the summers of 2014–2015. Individuals’ core temperature was assessed throughout the shift using an ingestible sensor, a 3 min moving average computed and maximum temperature identified. Accelerometers were worn, and NHANES criteria used to classify counts per minute (cpm) into sedentary, low, moderate and vigorous activity. Daily work-rate was categorised by the number of minutes spent in moderate and/or vigorous activity (<30, 30 to 90,>90). Questionnaires administered in Spanish collected occupational tasks conducted and self-rated environmental heat exposure.

Results 499 Latina/o farmworkers performed only one task on their shift. The mean activity in cpm was highest for tree/vine harvesters 445 (SD 225) and lowest for produce sorters 193 (SD 167). 22 workers recorded a maximal core temperature >38.5°C, a criteria for heat stress in acclimatised workers. In a multivariable logistic regression high body temperature was associated with both the number of minutes working at a moderate/vigorous rate and self-rated environmental heat; OR and (95% CI) for ≥90 v<90 min high activity 3.6 (1.5–8.5). Irrigators were the only classification with statistically significant association with elevated core temperature; OR and (95% CI) 3.7 (1.4–9.6).

Conclusion Farmworkers, who exceed 90 min a day in moderate/vigorous activity and/or irrigators, are at higher risk of HRI. These workers may need closer monitoring for their safety.

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