Author Identifier

Victor Nunfam

ORCID : 0000-0002-4572-0904

Kwadwo Adusei-Asante

ORCID : 0000-0002-1343-8234

Eddie Van Etten

ORCID : 0000-0002-7311-1794

Kwasi Frimpong

ORCID : 0000-0001-5021-7804

Jacques Oosthuizen

ORCID : 0000-0002-1589-5957

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

International Journal of Biometeorology

Publisher

Springer

School

School of Medical and Health Sciences / School of Science / School of Arts and Humanities

RAS ID

36053

Funders

Edith Cowan University

Comments

This is an author's accepted manuscript of: Nunfam, V. F., Adusei-Asante, K., Van Etten, E. J., Frimpong, K., & Oosthuizen, J. (2021). Estimating the magnitude and risk associated with heat exposure among Ghanaian mining workers. International Journal of Biometeorology, 65(12), 2059-2075.

https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-021-02164-3

Abstract

Many occupational settings located outdoors in direct sun, such as open cut mining, pose a health, safety, and productivity risk to workers because of their increased exposure to heat. This issue is exacerbated by climate change effects, the physical nature of the work, the requirement to work extended shifts and the need to wear protective clothing which restricts evaporative cooling. Though Ghana has a rapidly expanding mining sector with a large workforce, there appears to be no study that has assessed the magnitude and risk of heat exposure on mining workers and its potential impact on this workforce. Questionnaires and temperature data loggers were used to assess the risk and extent of heat exposure in the working and living environments of Ghanaian miners. The variation in heat exposure risk factors across workers’ gender, education level, workload, work hours, physical work exertion and proximity to heat sources is significant (p < 0.05). Mining workers are vulnerable to the hazards of heat exposure which can endanger their health and safety, productive capacity, social well-being, adaptive capacity and resilience. An evaluation of indoor and outdoor Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) in the working and living environment showed that mining workers can be exposed to relatively high thermal load, thus raising their heat stress risk. Adequate adaptation policies and heat exposure management for workers are imperative to reduce heat stress risk, and improve productive capacity and the social health of mining workers.

DOI

10.1007/s00484-021-02164-3

Research Themes

Natural and Built Environments

Priority Areas

Environmental management, governance and policy

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