Heat Illness Among North Carolina Latino Farmworkers

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Abstract

Objective:

Heat exposure is an important hazard for workers in manual occupations, including farmworkers. This analysis delineates the prevalence of heat illness among farmworkers, and the factors associated with heat illness.

Methods:

North Carolina Latino male farmworkers completed interviews in August, 2013. They reported on heat exposure and behaviors over the previous 3 months while working both outdoors and indoors.

Results:

A third (35.6%) of the participants reported heat illness while working outside, and 13.9% while working inside. Factors associated with heat illness while working outside included working in wet clothes and shoes, harvesting and topping tobacco, and spending after-work time in an extremely hot house.

Conclusions:

Policy addressing heat illness is needed, as is more detailed research on occupational heat exposure that uses common measures.

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