Solar energy industry workers under climate change: A risk assessment of the level of heat stress experienced by a worker based on measured data: A risk assessment of the level of heat stress experienced by a worker based on measured data

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Abstract

Due to production requirements, solar facilities are usually located in sunny environments where workers face hot weather. Heat is seen as an environmental and occupational hazard with its physiological effects due to high-temperature exposures. Among the heat-related effects are, dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and death. The heat-related impairments on health could also negatively impact the performance of the workers and simultaneously, decrease their productivity. While climate change the already known effects on health could become more frequent, prevalent, and spread. The present investigation provides an analysis of the level of heat stress experienced by a worker based on Wet-bulb Globe Temperature measurements. The study was conducted at a solar energy facility in Mexico. The results show that sometimes workers develop their tasks under conditions above the alert limits of exposure. Solar workers without acclimatization and heavy workload requirements (400 kcal/h) need to rest 75% from an hour and 50% when the workload is moderate (300 kcal/h). Consequently, the percentage of work capacity was established for different scenarios. The period of risk alert during a recorded heat wave, where the worker would mainly require to stop all the physical activities, started at 6:30 am and ended at 6:50 pm. In the final section, preventive measures are suggested. This research aims to contribute with information directed to environmental scientists, standard/policy developers and the solar industry that could improve/develop safety procedures directed toward the heat-related occupational health and safety within solar energy applications under the climate change conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-47
Number of pages15
JournalSafety Science
Volume118
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Climatic health hazards
  • Heat stress
  • Heat wave
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Solar energy

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