Estimation of Heat Stress and Maximum Acceptable Work Time Based on Physiological and Environmental Response in Hot-Dry Climate: A Case Study in Traditional Bakers

Davood Afshari, Saeid Moradi, Kambiz Ahmadi Angali, Gholam-Abbas Shirali


Background: Heat stress is common among workers in hot-dry areas. To take preventive strategies for the protection of workers against heat stress, it is important to choose a suitable index that can accurately explain environmental parameters relative to physiological responses.

Objective: To evaluate heat stress and maximum acceptable work time (MAWT) based on physiological and environmental response in hot-dry climate among traditional bakers.

Methods: The current study was carried out on 30 traditional bakers of 3 different bread baking systems in Ahvaz, Iran. Environmental and physiological parameters were measured simultaneously for a work shift. The work-rest time was also determined based on the relative heart rate (RHR) and the wet-bulb globe temperature (WBGT) index.

Results: The average WBGT index was estimated to be higher than the standard limit for all baking stations. Despite the higher-than-the-recommended-limit WBGT index, there was no significant relationship between the WBGT index and physiological parameters. The results indicated a significant (p<0.05) difference between the percentages of work-rest time estimated using the WBGT and RHR index.

Conclusion: Based on the results of environmental and physiological monitoring of this study as well as the limitations of the use of the WBGT index, it seems that using WBGT as a standard index would not suit heat stress management in hot-dry climates. A revision of this standard to adapt to hot climatic conditions should be in order.


Heart rate; Temperature; Workplace; Occupational stress; Work; Rest; Heat stress disorders

doi: 10.15171/ijoem.2019.1582

 pISSN: 2008-6520
 eISSN: 2008-6814

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License