Comparison of workers’ perceptions toward work climate and health symptoms between ceramic and iron foundry workers

Workers exposed to heavy manual material handling (MMH) in a hot working environment succumb to severe physical stress and psychological stress. The aims of the present study are to: (1) Recognize the heat load at workplaces of ceramic industry and iron industry, and (2) Comparatively examine the characteristics of self-reported physiological responses and heat-health perception among these workers. Workplace microclimate in the ceramic industry and iron industry was monitored. An ergonomic checklist and a questionnaire was used to record self-reported workers’ perceptions toward heat stress at workplace (ceramic workers N = 321, iron foundry workers N = 253). The prevalence rates of subjective symptoms among workers of both the industries were compared. Chi-square test was used to examine the association between stressors and health complaints at a significance level set at P < 0.05. Iron foundries recorded higher mean ambient temperature (43.4 ± 3.7C) and wet-bulb globe temperature (WGBT) index (31.5 ± 0.7 C) as compared to ceramic industries (39.9 ± 3.3 C and 28 ± 1.5 C, respectively). Heavy sweating, elevated body temperature, sleeplessness, excessive thirst, muscular discomforts, and fatigue were prime symptoms recorded among workers of both industries. Skin-related disorders (red face, dry skin, bumps, itching) were significantly higher among iron foundry workers, whereas sleeplessness, high blood pressure, heavy sweating, kidney stone, decreased urination, muscular discomforts, and fatigue were significantly more among ceramic workers. Young workers reported more sweating and fatigue than older workers. A hot work climate and heavy manual labour designate ceramic and iron industries as arduous. Direct contact with hot surface and continuous MMH in tandem with the mechanical pace of production process makes work in ceramic industries more difficult than iron foundries. Authors: Majumder J, Bagepally BS, Shah P, Kotadiya S, Yadav S, Naha N. ;Full Source: Indian Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine. 2016 Jan-Apr;20(1):48-53. doi: 10.4103/0019-5278.183845. ;