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Effects Of Heat On Safe Work Behavior.

Ramsey JD; Burford CL; Beshir MY
NIOSH 1982 Mar:66 pages
The effect of environmental heat on unsafe work behavior rate (USBR) was investigated in a metal products manufacturing factory and foundry. Nineteen work tasks and working stations were examined over a 14 month period. Sixty sets of observations were made daily for a total of 17000. Workplace temperature was measured and workers observed for 30 seconds at a time using a previously compiled taxonomy. Relationship between four independent variables, namely temperature, workload, job risk, and period of day and their interactions was statistically analyzed. Temperature was shown to affect behavior rate. Rate values were lowest between 17 to 23 degrees-C and increased with temperatures above or below these points. The temperature to workload values were also significant. The behavior rate also increased as the metabolic workload of a job/task increased. The minimum rate occurred in the 18 to 23 degree range for light, moderate, or heavy workload. This range was slightly below the standard specified as comfortable for light or sedentary work activity. The degree of job risk had a significant effect which increased or decreased with temperature from the midrange values of 17 to 22 degrees. The behavior rate associated with the combination of heavy workload and high degree of risk was significantly higher than for other workload risk combinations. The rate found during the morning hours was significantly lower than those observed during the afternoon and was not significantly affected by the day of week. The authors conclude that the highest degree of safety and performance occurs at the midrange temperatures.
NIOSH-Contract; Safety-research; Industrial-safety; Occupational-health; Temperature-measurement; Heat-stress; Heat-tolerance; Temperature-effects; Thermal-radiation; Contract-210-79-0021;
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NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, NTIS PB83-105-262
Page last reviewed: December 28, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division