Heat Stress Vulnerability among Indian Workmen

Heat Stress Vulnerability among Indian Workmen

Joydeep Majumder (National Institute of Occupational Health, India), Priyanka Shah (National Institute of Occupational Health, India) and Sunil Kumar (National Institute of Occupational Health, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8814-8.ch004
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Abstract

The average global temperature increase is estimated to go up by 1.8-4.0 0C by the next century. This climate change ought to affect populations where the burden of climate-sensitive disease is high – such as the urban poor in low- and middle-income countries. Particularly in industrial applications, heat generates during manufacturing process. This heat transmits to the environment to make it hotter, as well as the community, especially affecting workers involved in the operation. The primary outcomes of working in such environment leads to three kinds of major heat-related disorders-heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Understanding the quantifiable volume of health impacts due to work habits in hot working environment would provide multiple avenues of suitable intervention. Elucidating the multiple avenues of work pattern, physical and physiological attributes would generate knowledgebase and yield numerically defined susceptibility limits of workers occupational front. The present chapter provides directions to research into the heat related health profile of Indian workmen which would ascertain the relative vulnerability of different occupational groups to their workplace heat eventuality.
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Introduction

The climate all around the globe is experiencing a non-steady, increase in temperature, frequency and intensity of heat waves, and by warmer summers and milder winter seasons. With this current trend, the average global temperature increase is estimated to go up by 1.8-4.0 0C by the next century (Bates et al., 2008). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirms that climate change has already taken place (IPCC, 2007) and it also assesses future changes in the climate at the regional scale. Massive urbanization, industrialization, aforestation are the prime reasons of such climate change. It represents a range of environmental hazards and will affect populations where the current burden of climate-sensitive disease is high – such as the urban poor in low and middle-income countries (Kovats and Akhtar, 2008). Therefore, adapting to climate change in low and middle income countries is now additional concern for local governments (Satterthwaite et al., 2007).

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