Special Issue 1, December 2009
Article Number: 07
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Occupational heat exposure in extreme weather conditions in small and medium enterprises (SME) in India

L.P. Singh, A. Bhardwaj, K.K. Deepak, and S. Singh
Pages 32-38

Abstract—Occupational health and safety has not been at top agenda of manufacturing industry in the developing countries. The small scale industry of these countries is far behind in this regard. The present study was undertaken to assess the heat exposure and occupational safety and hygiene practices in small and medium scale casting and forging units (SMEs) of Northern India. The study included a personal interview of workers of these units through a comprehensive questionnaire. Information was gathered about the heat exposure, use of protective equipments, Sweat losses and water intake, working hours etc. The ambient temperature was measured using Quest Temp 34o Heat stress monitor. The heat exposure was measured by using wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) index. A long term recording was done in each section then followed by the short term recoding for 15 minutes each. The results of the study revealed that occupational heat exposure significantly exceeds the limits prescribed by as prescribed by NIOSH/ACGIH. The results revealed that 68% of the workers were not wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). It has been established that the heat exposure is being taken by the workers as they are working more than 8 hrs a day for six days per week. More than 90% workers are working 12 to 24 hours over time per week. It was concluded that there is a great need that SMEs should be encouraged to implement occupational heat stress management programmes.

Keywords—occupational hazards, occupational heat exposure.