Feeling Cold at Work Increases the Risk of Symptoms From Muscles, Skin, And Airways in Seafood Industry Workers

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BackgroundNorwegian workers in seafood industry plants are exposed to a cold and often wet environment.Methods1,767 seafood industry workers participated in a questionnaire study. Seventeen plants were visited for thermal measurements.Results15.9% of industrial workers and 1.7% of administrative workers reported that they often felt cold at work. Mean finger temperatures after 1 hr work varied between 16 and 22°C. Foot temperature dropped from morning measurement until lunch time in 85% of the measurements. Industrial workers who reported that they often felt cold, had significantly increased prevalence of symptoms from muscles, skin, and airways while working, compared to workers who reported that they never felt cold at work.ConclusionsModerate cooling, caused by a cold indoor working environment, may increase muscle-, airway-, and skin symptoms. The prevalence of feeling cold may be a useful exposure estimate in moderate cold exposure situations. Am. J. Ind. Med. 47:65–71, 2005. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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