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11 Oct 2019

FAME Laboratory, University of Thessaly

Assessment of occupational heat strain and mitigation strategies in Qatar

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[Summary of key findings and recommendations:

  1. The wet-bulb globe temperature (WGBT) index is a reliable basis on which employers can adapt their mitigation processes;
  2. Working hours of between 16.00 and 02.00 are optimum for decreasing risk of heat stress and insufficient sleep;
  3. There is no relationship between workers' ethnicity and susceptibility to heat stress; all workers should undergo proactive health checks to identify heat stress symptoms;
  4. 1 in 3 workers performed up to 5% of their job while hyperthermic. Heat mitigation plans supported by hydration strategies can reduce incidence of hyperthermia;
  5. Workers must be empowered to take breaks, and self-pace themselves to work at low intensity;
  6. Those working continuously in the shade outdoors can work safely provided their day is punctuated with regular breaks;
  7. Appropriate clothing and hydration were effective strategies for reducing heat stress;
  8. Providing workers with 750ml water on an hourly basis most effectively reduced dehydration, hyperthermia and labour effort; and
  9. When extensive heat mitigation strategies are in place, workers perceive their working conditions to be safer.]