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Thermal Stress

ITEC 471 Spring 2003 Jon Judge: Guest Lecturer

What is thermal stress?
By the end of this unit, you will be able to: -define thermal stress -calculate WGBT (loaded/unloaded) -recognize control measures for thermal stress -assess risk/exposure for thermal stress -determine exposure limits for thermal stress

Thermal Stress
Thermal stress is defined as the physical and physiological reactions of the worker to temperatures that fall outside of the worker’s normal comfort zone.

Comfort Zones
-Accepted method of determining comfort zones is through the use of an ASHRAE chart. -ASHRAE –American Society of Refrigeration, Heating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers. -ASHRAE standard 55-1981 outlines human comfort zones based on temperature and humidity.

Heat and Heat Balance Cooling External Heat Source H Internal Heat Source (Muscular Activity) .

Temperature Regulation is a “balancing act” .

solar load . WBGT (Wet Bulb Globe Temperature) is the accepted method for determining true temperature Accounts for air currents.Measuring temperature Accurate temperature measurement is crucial for determining thermal stress. relative humidity.

and calculates WGBT by: -Dry Bulb Thermometer -Wet Bulb Thermometer -Globe Temperature .WBGT – Heat Stress Monitor Heat Stress Monitor takes readings from.

1 x Tdb Tdb = dry-bulb temperature .7 x Tnwb + 0.3 x Tg Tnwb = natural wet-bulb temperature Tg = globe temperature For direct sunlight exposure: WBGT = 0.7 x Tnwb + 0.WBGT Formulae: For indoor or shaded environments: WBGT = 0.2 x Tg + 0.

convert that temperature to WBGT using the following info: -WB = 64.WGBT Example Using the reading from the thermostat on the west wall.1 F -GT = Temperature reading from thermostat .

77C *5/9 (thermostat F) –32 = ? .WBGT Example. cont’d Step 1 : Convert F temps to C -5/9 (temp F) –32 = temp C *5/9 (64F) –32 = 17.

cont’d WBGT = 0.WBGT example.7 x WB + 0.3 x GT WBGT = ? WBGT = .

7(WB))/0. which should agree with the thermostat…if it’s accurate.3 * convert temp to F .WBGT example.9/5(Temp C) + 32 = Temp F . * GT = (WBGT – 0. cont’d Verification of readings : Using WB temp and WBGT from monitor. calculate the corresponding GT.

Using the readings from WBGT WBGT is used by Industrial Hygienists to determine the workload requirements/restrictions for work areas. . using Heat Stress/Strain TLV.

TLV’s .

Also to note that the TLV’s make a few assumptions regarding acclimatization. cont’d Notice the ACGIH Heat Stress/Strain TLV’s take into account the workload as well as the work/rest cycle. as well as the ability of most workers to work continuously at 38C.TLV’s. clothing. . water and salt intake.

using table saw Moderate: walking about with moderate lifting or pushing. cutting with a hand saw Very Heavy: shoveling wet sand . scrubbing in a standing position Heavy: shoveling dry sand.TLV workload definitions: Light: standing with light work at machine/bench using mostly arms.

TLV correction factors The following correction factors for the WBGT should be used: .

) 75% work.WBGT and TLV – Screening work demands: 100% work.0 heavy 26.0 29. 25% rest 50% work.0 28.5 26.5 28. 75% rest Acclimatized light 29.5 Unacclimatized .5 30.0 31.0 very heavy not allowed not allowed 27. 50% rest 25% work.5 29.5 25.0 28.5 24.5 29.5 26.0 moderate 27.0 32.5 31.0 22.0 29.0 31.5 30.5 30.5 27.5 27.5 26.5 25.5 28. (breaks incl.

Acclimatization requires up to 3 weeks to be fully established and is noticeably decreased after 4 days (for TLV® purposes: use 5 of last 7 days) Having lost 1.5% of your body weight due to dehydration eliminates any benefit of being acclimatized .Acclimatization -The process whereby the body adapts to the temperature variations of the area.

heart stoke volume increases and blood volume increases Decreased stress response(s) .Acclimatization. 700 mL/h non-acclimatized) Decreased loss of electrolytes (less salt in sweat) Blood flow to skin is reduced. cont’d Body Changes due to Acclimatization: Ability to get rid of excess heat improves sweating becomes more “efficient” (1500 mL/h vs. more blood is available to muscles Heart rate more stable.

If work/rest cycle is not constant. . Anticipated workload. time-weighted average should be used in determination. to allow for measures to be taken to protect exposed individuals. work/rest cycle.Screening Measurements: Heat Stress/Strain measurements (WBGT) should be taken prior to work being performed. clothing should be taken into account in determination.

Cooling the body The body’s cooling system can be likened to the cooling system of a car. . -Coolant (blood) is circulated through a pump (heart) and moves heat from the hot inner core to a radiator (skin surface).

Temperature Regulation
The hypothalamus is a small organelle within the brain which adjusts bodily functions through hormones which: -Increase heart rate -Begin the sweating mechanism -Increase blood flow to the skin surface

Changes in blood flow
14 12 skin core muscles organs

blood flow (L/min)

10 8 6 4 2 0 cool hot

How does the body rid itself of excess heat?
There are 4 means of heat removal from the body.
Convection Radiation Evaporation Conduction

Convection is the transfer of heat by movements of air masses.
Air cooling

Hot air rising

Cool air descending

Radiation Radiation is the outward flow of energy from a source to the surrounding environment. .

Sweat vapor Sweat droplet . For our discussion. it is the process where large sweat droplets are reduced in size and become vapor suspended in air.Evaporation Evaporation is the process of a liquid changing state into a gas.

Hot Cold .Conduction Conduction is the process where energy is transferred between objects through direct contact.

the reason why it’s important to cover your head in winter) … BUT … When under heat stress up to 80% of heat loss is by evaporation . cont’d When the body is cool the majority of heat escapes from the body by convection (draft passing over the skin) and radiation (60% heat loss at cool temperatures.Heat loss.


Heat Sources It must be remembered that there are two sources of exposure to heat (external and internal) 70-80% of muscle expended activity in the body is changed into heat (rather inefficient) called metabolic heat .


What are the health effects of heat stress/strain? .

keep the skin clean and the pores unclogged. wear loose clothing. Seriousness: Relatively minor.Heat Injuries Heat Rash (prickly heat): Cause: Heat buildup in the skin due to clogged pores and sweat ducts. see doctor if rash persists. Symptoms: Area becomes reddened and may itch or hurt. First Aid: Practice good personal hygiene. allow skin to dry. . Skin eruptions. Prolonged skin wetness from sweating.

Bandaging of serious burns.Heat Injuries Radiation Burns (Sunburn) Cause: UV radiation is absorbed by the skin. leading to drying-out of tissues. Symptoms: Water molecules within skin are disrupted. . Extreme cases involve blisters. ruptures. Seriousness: Minor to relatively serious. First Aid: Covering of exposed skin. Use of protective creams (sunscreen). and deep-tissue damage.

. First Aid: Fluid replacement and rest. cont’d Transient Heat Fatigue: Cause: Loss of fluids reduces circulatory efficiency. Seriousness: No long-term adverse effects.Heat Injuries. Symptoms: General feeling of tiredness or fatigue.

give fluids. and oxygen in the brain. Seriousness: Victim may take a day or two to recover. cont’d Heat Syncope: Cause: the body’s circulation system allows blood to “pool” in the lower extremities causing insufficient blood. May subsequently be more sensitive to heat until reacclimated. If conscious.” First Aid: Lay victim in a cool location horizontally with feet elevated. Symptoms: Syncope means “fainting.Heat Injuries. .

Heat Injuries. Seriousness: May debilitate the victim for several days. Rest in a cool environment. Full recovery is necessary before going back into heat stress conditions. cont’d Heat Cramps: Cause: Loss of important electrolytes in the blood and muscle tissues due to excessive amounts of “salts” being lost in the victim’s sweat. Symptoms: Cramping of either voluntary (skeletal) muscles or involuntary (principally abdominal) muscles (or both). First Aid: Replenish electrolytes through drinking of fluids constituted for this purpose such as Gator-Aide. .

unconsciousness. weakness.Heat Injuries. dizziness. coma and death. profuse sweating. if the symptoms are recognized early enough. cont’d Heat Exhaustion: Cause: Depressed condition of the circulatory system due for the most part to a lack of adequate fluid replacement (dehydration). . cold/wet (clammy) grayish skin. Symptoms: Nausea. headache. A victim may be able to take actions that will alleviate the condition. blurred vision. Blood vessels dilate and blood flow is seriously reduced (clinical condition of shock has occurred).

Victims may require several days or even weeks to recover. Seriousness: Shock is a serious medical condition regardless of the cause of its onset. seek medical care or transport to a medical emergency room. . If unconscious. cont’d Heat Exhaustion (continued): First Aid: Place victim in a face down position in a cool location. Even longer periods may be necessary before the victim can resume working in heat stress conditions.Heat Injuries. administer fluids if the victim is conscious.

cont’d Heat Stroke: Cause: The body’s temperature regulation mechanism. located in the hypothalamus. euphoria. fails and sweating stops. irritability. collapse. convulsions and death.Heat Injuries. restlessness. unconsciousness. Core body temperature rises dramatically and the victim’s condition becomes a serious medical emergency. . Symptoms: Chills. red face and skin. disorientation. The victim is unlikely to be able to reverse the condition without assistance or medical intervention. hot/dry skin (not always).

aggressive cooling of the victim’s body using wet cloths. immersion into cool water or using alcohol wipes. cont’d Heat Stroke (continued): First Aid: Immediate. Without outside intervention. Transport to emergency medical facility. Recovery times from heat stroke are generally the longest of any heat-related disorder. By the time the victim realizes s/he is in trouble. .Heat Injuries. Seriousness: Heat Stroke is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY. the victim will die. it is usually too late to employ effective self-intervention procedures that can reverse the thermo-regulatory failure and reduce core temperatures.

fatigued workers perform with reduced accuracy. cont’d Indirect Heat-Related Health Effects: Reduced Work Performance: tired.Heat Injuries. heat stress is an added strain on your body which in severe situation may precipitate serious episodes of acute problems . fatigued workers are more susceptible to accident and injury Reproductive Problems: heat has been shown to reduce both male and female fertility and can be a problem for the fetus Heart/Lung Strain: if you already have heart. efficiency Increased Accidents: tired. lung. kidney or circulatory problems.

Some people can work comfortably in high temperatures. People come in all different sizes. while others will develop sickness from heat stress/strain .Heat effects and people Heat affects people in different ways. and tolerances for heat. shapes.

cont’d Predisposing Factors:  very small body size  poor nutrition  overweight  over 40 years old (the older the more sensitive)  previous heat illness  heart disease  high blood pressure  diabetes  skin disease  liver. and lung problems .Heat effects. kidney.

cont’d:  physical activity  poor physical condition  fatigue  excessive clothing  dehydration  being female  being pregnant  alcohol.Heat effects. nicotine intake  Sunbathing . cont’d Predisposing Factors. caffeine.

cont’d .Drugs Drugs that interfere with body’s thermo-regulation: Heat production: thyroid hormone amphetamines TCA’s LSD Decrease thirst: Haldol Decrease sweating: antihistamines anticholinergics phenothiazines Benztropine .Heat effects.

Control methods Engineering controls Administrative controls Personal protective equipment .

Engineering - - Use machinery instead of people where applicable Take steps to cool building or worksite Use thermal barriers (mylar reflective surfaces) More? .Control methods .

Administrative -Conduct training on Heat stress/strain -Work during coolest part of day -Co-worker observation -Implement work/rest schedule -More? .Control methods .

PPE -Drinking adequate amounts of fluids -Protective clothing (light colors reflect heat) -Protective equipment (vests.Control methods . fans) -More? .

cont’d Cooling vest .Control methods – PPE.

fruit & veggies are 90% water Why 10-15°C? … to maximize the amount you drink (not too cold.1 cup or 8 oz = 240 mL every 20 min 2.Personal Safeguards How Much Water is Enough? More than you want just to satisfy your thirst Sources of water are: 1. Foods . Fluids . not luke warm) Does it need to be delivered to the work station? … depends on workplace logistics … .

and alcohol as they take water out of your body. diet drinks. . Water is the best.g. juices and/or no caffeine sport drinks are also good (juices contain energy restoring glucose). cont’d What to drink: Electrolyte drinks (e. carbonated. Gatorade) are usually not needed for typical North American diet (can be used for first aid).Personal Safeguards. Stay away from caffeinated.

nausea.Personal Safeguards.5-4 L 5+ L time* 1 hr 2-3 hrs 3-4 hrs 4-5 hrs 5-6 hrs 7+ hrs effect & symptoms (* timing may vary based on intensity of work and heat/humidity) unnoticed (at 1.25 L 3L 3.5% weight loss you are considered dehydrated) loss of endurance. extreme discomfort heat exhaustion. cont’d % weight loss 1% 2% 3% 4% 5-6% 7+% fluid loss 0. uncomfortable loss of strength. loss of energy. moderate discomfort cramps. feel hot. faint heat stroke. start to feel thirsty.5 L 2. unconsciousness .75 L 1. headaches. collapse.

therefore be careful in where they are placed .Personal Safeguards. cont’d Fans: Purpose of a cooling fan is primarily to increase the rate of sweat evaporation but it also cools by convection if the air is cooler than the skin Fan coolers may interfere with local exhaust ventilation for contaminant control.

cont’d: The lower the relative humidity the better the evaporation the more effective the cooling If the relative humidity is close to 100% the fan will no longer increase evaporation of sweat The closer the air temperature is to skin temperature (35-36°C) the less effective the cooling if the air temperature exceeds skin temperature then the fan may even heat up the body (like a convection oven)! . cont’d Fans.Personal Safeguards.

water distribution) record the details including the time and the degree If heat stress health conditions appear record time and describe symptoms and situation .Protective/Corrective measures Take readings: Select a representative spot to place your thermometer(s) and/or hygrometer Designate someone to take readings on an hourly basis (on the hour) and record them If activities are altered in response to the heat (slow down. more breaks.

MAKE SURE YOU’RE DRINKING ENOUGH!!! . thus. Sweat that drips off your body no longer allows for cooling by evaporation. dark concentrated urine. etc. weakness. fatigue. feeling overheated. nausea. unless there’s another medical reason for it. headache.Protective/Corrective measures Things you can check: Look for typical heat strain symptoms. this is a sign that your body is heating up Check your pulse. heat stress is unlikely if your pulse rate is under 100 beats per minute after 1 minute rest.

Thermal Stress – Cold Stress .

cold temperatures present their own challenges to the thermal regulation of the human body. and methods for treatment of cold-related injuries. . what health effects cold temperatures present.Cold Stress Just as high temperatures have far-reaching effects on the body. Let’s examine what the effects of cold temperatures are.

Normal vs. Hypothermic environment .

radiation. instead of releasing it to the environment. The large difference is that in hypothermic environments.Hypothermic environment As we see. you are trying to retain heat. the four causes of heat loss in a hypothermic environment are convection. and conduction. evaporation. .

Body’s cold response Determining the risk of cold-injuries is done using the following formula: Heat Retention + Heat Production > Cold Factors or Heat Retention + Heat Production < Cold Factors .

. Masai) Insulation (Clothing type/# of layers) Fat (Used as insulation) Shell (Blood in core of body) These are positive factors.Cold Response. Increase of any or all of these factors decreases risk of injury. cont’d - Heat Retention: - - Size/shape (Eskimo vs.

cont’d - Heat Production - - Activity level Shivering response * Limited by: - - Fitness level Nutrition Fluid intake .Cold Response.

Cold Response. cont’d .

Cold Response. Hypothermic condition could develop. . If Retention + Production < Cold Factors. cont’d - Cold Factors: - - Temperature Humidity Wind The total of these represents the challenge to the thermo-regulation of the human body.

etc.Hypothermia “a decrease in the core body temperature to a level at which normal muscular and neurological functions are impaired” – Medicine for Mountaineers Hypothermia is possible at any temperature under 98. if the right conditions exist (lack of insulation.6 degrees.) . increased heat loss.

Hypothermia . and Grumbles Shows decreased physical and mental capacity.signs “Umbles” – Stumbles. . Mumbles. Fumbles.

6 – 96 F .non-voluntary shivering -complex motor functions impossible -vasoconstriction to periphery .mild Mild Hypothermia: .Hypothermia .core temperature 98.

moderate Moderate Hypothermia: .apathetic attitude .slurred speech .loss of fine motor coordination .Hypothermia .core temperature 95 – 93 F .violent shivering .paradoxical undressing .

reduced pulse .pale skin/dilated pupils .person curled in fetal position to conserve heat .severe Severe Hypothermia: .core temperature 92 – 86 F or below .muscle rigidity develops .shivering in waves (violent then pause) .Hypothermia .

shunting blood to peripheral tissues. -at 86 degrees F or below. the person looks dead. the person goes into hibernation.Hypothermia – severe. but is still alive…barely. Severe Hypothermia is LIFE THREATENING! . slowing heart rate and respiration. cont’d -at 90 degrees F.


there are other cold injuries. -Frostnip -Frostbite -Immersion foot (trench foot) .Cold Injuries Although hypothermia is well known.

.white.general numbness Frostnip is generally reversible and does no major tissue damage. waxy skin.Frostnip Frostnip is the freezing of upper layers of the skin. Characterized by: . .

DO NOT rub the area! Rubbing can rupture frozen cells. • Frostnip is a warning sign of possible frostbite* .Frostnip . causing extensive damage.treatment Gently warm area by blowing warm air on it or by placing it near a warm body part.

purple/black color is from ruptured blood vessels .white.deep frostbite can affect bone and muscle . Characterized by: .Frostbite Frostbite is a freezing of the surface and deep layers of tissue. possible anesthesia . and feels “woody” .numbness.

Frostbite – a view .

keep part from refreezing .Frostbite . .treatment Immerse affected area in 105 – 110 degree F water until thawing is complete.part will be extremely painful Wrap affected part in sterile gauze Affected part should not be used for anything .

Chart .

. cool conditions. Characterized by: .possibly numb . leaving person susceptible to cold injuries in future.yellowish.Immersion Foot – trench foot Immersion foot is caused by prolonged exposure of the feet to wet.sloughing of skin tissue/itching *Immersion foot may cause permanent damage to foot tissues. smelly feet .

Immersion Foot – a view .

.treatment - Careful washing and drying of feet.Immersion Foot . Keep feet dry as much as possible. Keep off feet as much as possible until healed.

Final Thoughts or Questions? .

et al. Heat Stress Training. Outdoor Action Program. 1995 Occupational Safety and Health Administration 3154 Occupational Safety and Health Administration 3156 Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers. Barbara A.firstworldwar. Heat Stress Fact Sheet. 1996 USAF. 1998 www. 2001 Plog. Princeton University.html .References Curtis. Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene.