Canadian Center of Science and Education
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Natural Sciences/Centre for Ecosystem Management
Little is known about the health effects of heat in outdoor work and appropriate work and rest schedules for farmers working in developing countries. As temperatures continue to increase in tropical regions, such as Northern Ghana, it is necessary to evaluate how farmers experience and respond to high heat exposures. In this study, WBGT (Wet Bulb Globe Temperature) estimates and the ISO work / rest standards were applied to a cohort of farmers in the rural areas of Bawku East, Northern Ghana, to assess how farmers respond to high heat and how much they rest to protect their health, as well as the level of heat on their productivity. WBGT data was recorded over a period of 6 months among vegetable, cereals, and legume farmers. The ISO proposed and actual rest regimes observed by farmers in the same time period were evaluated. In the dry season the dry bulb temperature rose as high as 45 ºC, while during the humid months of March and April WBGT rose to levels as high as 34 ºC. Farmers worked for nine hours a day during these hot periods with insufficient rest, which has adverse consequences on their health and productivity.