COLD, VIBRATION, AIRBORNE EXPOSURES AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC INFLUENCES IN MINING

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.

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.

Standards

Publications, lectures, and presentations provided by the project

  • short instructions concerning cooling and re-warming of fingers and toes (in Finnish)

 

Literature

  • 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)

More Reading

 

 

Guidebooks and www-pages

 

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Human responses to cold

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Risk prevention

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Health and safety

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