Health risks in tropical climate agriculture: a set of case studies of sugarcane workers

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Béda Barkokébas Junior
Eliane Maria Gorga Lago
Ana Rosa Martins
Tomi Zlatar
Felipe Mendes da Cruz
Bianca M. Vasconcelos
Felipe Moreira Campos
Carlos Roberto Campos

Abstract

The objective of this work was to investigate on safety and health risks to which tropical agricultural workers are exposed, mainly in relation to heat stress and ergonomic evaluation. In total, five workers from the sugarcane industry were assessed through the Life Quality Questionnaire (SF-36), and four through measuring their body composition, heart rate, hydration status, and ergonomic evaluation. Meteorological data on air temperature, relative humidity and air movement were gathered through a nearby metrological station. The analyzed sugarcane activities were found to be of moderate physical activity, and therefore less consuming than the activity of sugarcane cutters. The work-rest periods were found to be appropriated, without repetitive movements. The workers involved in agricultural activities should always evaluate the thermal environment conditions and appropriate their working activities and stay well hydrated in order to minimize heat stress risk.

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