Human responses to cold, Learn More
The unique work environment of mining in the Barents region is characterized by work in cold conditions. Exposure to cold increases the strain of most of the body’s physiological systems and has, therefore, effects on work ability and health. In order to reveal the negative climate impacts on miners, MineHealth project performed field and laboratory measurements as well as interviews and questionnaires. Based on the results, the thermal responses of miners in authentic work environment in open-pit mines were evaluated. Links to results and further reading are provided below.
Results from the measurements
Heat loss during the mining work outdoors was typically at the level of 190 W/m2, but vary a lot in different activities. Locally heat loss was the highest in the calf (246 W/m2) and the lowest in the chest (135 W/m2). During the work, skin temperatures were about 20% of the time at the level which impairs performance. The thermal sensations ranged from hot to cool in whole body level, warm to cool in face and warm to cold in fingers and toes. Cooling of fingers took ca. 30 minutes. When coming back indoors, rewarming took 20-30 minutes in fingers and toes.
- Mänttäri et al. (2014) A field study of thermal responses of miners in Arctic open-pit mines (4BOHW abstract)
- Rissanen et al. (2014) Dry heat loss in different body parts during work in arctic open-pit mines (4BOHW abstract)
Results from the questionnaire
At -20…-10°C about 25% of the workers had generally cold thermal sensation of fingers and toes, and 11% in the whole body. At higher temperatures, sensations of cold were very rare.
- Mänttäri et al. (2014) Summary of the results of questionnaire obtained from the MineHealth project in Kevitsa mine spring 2013
- http://minehealth.eu/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Abstract-book-of-the-3rd-Barents-Occupational-Health-Workshop.pdf (Rintamäki and Rissanen, page 47)
- http://www.iso.org/iso/standards_development/patents (use reference words such as cold work, thermal environment, human responses to cold, cold surfaces, thermal strain, metabolic rate; ISO 9886, ISO 7726, ISO 7730, ISO 8996, ISO 13731, ISO 13732-3, ISO 15265, ISO 14415)
Publications, lectures, and presentations provided by the project
- short instructions concerning cooling and re-warming of fingers and toes (in Finnish)
- Parsons (2014) Human thermal environments. The effects of hot, moderate, and cold environments on human health, comfort, and performance. Third Edition. CRC Press.
- Ilmarinen et al. (2011) Hypotermia – Kylmän haitat työssä ja vapaa-aikana (Työterveyslaitos, in Finnish)
- Duodecim 4/2005 (in Finnish)
- Cardiovascular system in cold
- Energy and fluid balance in cold
- Freezing and nonfreezing cold injuries
- Physiological responses to cold, Rintamäki
Guidebooks and www-pages
- Hassi et al. (2002) Opas kylmätyöhön. Työterveyslaitoksen julkaisuja. (in Finnish)
- Cold weather workers safety guide. Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety.