We examined the risk factors for heatstroke among forestry workers in Japan during the summer. We distributed a questionnaire to 124 forestry workers to determine heatstroke symptoms, degree of sweating and hydration, as well as perceived hotness and amount of sunlight at work sites. Forty of the workers (32.3%) reported experiencing heatstroke symptoms. Thirteen and 21 of them reported such symptoms during July and August, respectively. Eleven workers experienced heatstroke at around 14:00; 5 and 4 developed symptoms at around 11:00 and 10:00, respectively. Groups with and without heatstroke symptoms significantly differed in terms of perceived hotness ( p<0.05), sunlight ( p<0.05), degree of sweating ( p<0.01) and frequency of hydration ( p<0.05) while working. Heatstroke symptoms developed in 60.6% of workers aged up to 50 yr, but in only 22.0% of those over the age of 51 ( p<0.01). Multiple regression analysis selected the following key variables associated with the development of heatstroke symptoms (R2=0.236 and p=0.006): frequency of urination, hotness, BMI and years of forestry work (standard coefficients: +0.229, +0.194, +0.280 and -0.162, respectively). The results of the present study showed that one third of forestry workers developed some symptoms of early heatstroke during summer forestry work. Furthermore, the results indicate that a short duration of forestry service was one of the risk factors contributing to the onset of heatstroke, in addition to heat stress, loss of body water and electrolytes, and obesity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health