Mining Publication: Patterns of Heat Strain Among a Sample of US Underground Miners
Original creation date: March 2020
Authors: K Yeoman, W DuBose, T Bauerle, T Victoroff, S Finley, G Poplin
Objective—This study characterizes physiological measures of heat exposure among US underground miners.
Methods—Core body temperature measured by using ingestible sensors during subjects’ normal work shifts was categorized into four temperature zones: less than 37.5 °C, 37.5 °C to less than 38 °C, 38 °C to less than 38.5 °C, and more than or equal to 38.5 °C.
Results—On average, subjects changed temperature zones 13.8 times per shift. Temperatures increased above the recommended limit of 38 °C nearly 5 times per shift for an average of 26 minutes each episode.
Conclusions—Unlike previous heat stress research that reported only maximum and mean temperature measurements, this analysis demonstrates a dynamic pattern of physiologic heat strain, with core body temperatures changing frequently and exceeding the 38 °C limit multiple times per shift. Further research is needed on the impact of multiple short-term, intermittent heat exposures on miners.
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