23 May 2014

Extreme heat stress danger studied

12:38 pm on 23 May 2014

The number of deaths caused by hot and dangerous working conditions, both in New Zealand and overseas, is being tackled by a team of researchers in Nelson.

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Scientists at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology hope their results can be used to improve safety and productivity in the forestry, agriculture and construction industries.

In many tropical and sub-tropical countries, workers have little workplace protection and are often subject to extreme heat stress, such as no ventilation or access to drinking water.

But researcher Bruno Lemke said heat stress was also of concern in New Zealand, particularly in outdoor work in, for example, sunny, windless valleys.

The team discovered a marked decrease in productivity during the summer with workers slowing down, drinking more water and requiring more rest during hot days.