Indexed on: 10 Sep '14Published on: 10 Sep '14Published in: International journal of environmental research and public health
Farmworkers are particularly vulnerable to climate-sensitive health outcomes such as heat-related illness (HRI) given their tasks involve heavy exertion in an outdoor setting. The objectives of the study were to: (1) describe symptoms of HRI experienced by farmworkers and (2) explore factors associated with heat knowledge, level of concern regarding HRI, and comfort level taking breaks at work. Bilingual research staff conducted personal interviews of 100 farmworkers during July and August 2013. Data collected included demographics, work history and current work practices, trainings received, HRI symptoms experienced, health status, and health behaviors. Nearly 30% of participants reported experiencing ≥ 2 HRI symptoms during the previous work. Few participants had high level of heat knowledge (21.0%) and 15.6% of participants reported being "very concerned" about the health effects of working in hot conditions. Participants who were paid by the piece were more likely to have a high heat knowledge score and be "very concerned" about HRI but less likely to be "very comfortable" taking a break compared to workers paid by the hour than those who had not received HRI training. Results suggest several areas in which employers and agencies conducting outreach and education to the workers about HRI can change their practices including providing cooling measures and HRI training about risk factors for HRI.