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Article
Mine Workers, Heat Related Illnesses, and the Role of the Occupational Health Nurse
Kentucky Nurse
  • Kim Bourne, Western Kentucky University
Publication Date
1-1-2015
Abstract
Across the United States, workers in m any occupations face weather and related extreme conditions on a daily basis. Hot weather and manual labor increase a person’s core body temperature. This heat gain comes from a combination of environmental and self-generated (or internal) heat. Environmental heat is both weather related and man-made, and internal heat is produced from metabolic processes (Xiang, Bi, Pisaniello, & Hansen, 2014). But, it’s just not the heat that causes problems; it’s the humidity, too. E ach year thousands of workers suffer heat related illnesses as a result of becoming overheated. Between June, 2013 and July, 2014, heat related illnesses were responsible for more than 20 occupational worker deaths in the U. S. (Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA], 2014). Miners are at an increased risk for heat related illnesses. Workers in underground mines are exposed to ambient temperatures and relative humidity while performing their job duties decked out in safety equipment. Surface mine workers endure outdoor environmental temperatures under the same safety precautions. The aim of this paper is to outline the various heat related illnesses suffered by coal miners, summarize the findings from several published studies, offer suggestions to Occupational Health Nurses for reducing heat exposure in miners, and propose future directions for research.
Citation Information
Bourne, K. (2015). Mine workers, heat related illnesses, and the role of the occupational health nurse. Kentucky Nurse, 63(3), 6-7.