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Worker heat stress prevention and work metabolism estimation: comparing two assessment methods of the heart rate thermal component

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The heart rate thermal component ([Inline formula]) can increase with body heat accumulation and lead to work metabolism (WM) overestimation. We used two methods (VOGT and KAMP) to assess [Inline formula] of 35 forest workers throughout their work shifts, then compared [Inline formula] at work and at rest using limits of agreement (LoA). Next, for a subsample of 20 forest workers, we produced corrected WM estimates from [Inline formula] and compared them to measured WM. Although both methods produced significantly different [Inline formula] time-related profiles, they yielded comparable average thermal cardiac reactivity (VOGT: 24.8 bpm °C−1; KAMP: 24.5 bpm °C−1), average [Inline formula] (LoA: 0.7 ± 11.2 bpm) and average WM estimates (LoA: 0.2 ± 3.4 ml O2 kg−1min−1 for VOGT, and 0.0 ± 5.4 ml O2 kg−1min−1 for KAMP). Both methods are suitable to assess heat stress through [Inline formula] and improve WM estimation.

Practitioner summary: We compared two methods for assessing the heart rate thermal component ([Inline formula]), which is needed to produce a corrected HR profile for estimating work metabolism (WM). Both methods yielded similar [Inline formula] estimates that allowed accurate estimations of heat stress and WM at the group level, but they were imprecise at the individual level.

Abbreviations: AIC: akaike information criterion; bpm: beats per minute; CI: confidence intervals; CV: coefficient of variation in %; CV drift: cardiovascular drift; ΔHRT: the heart rate thermal component in bpm; ΔHRT: the heart rate thermal component in bpm; ΔΔHRT: variation in the heart rate thermal component in bpm; ΔTC: variation in core body temperature in °C; HR: heart rate in bpm; HRmax: maximal heart rate in bpm; Icl: cloting insulation in clo; KAMP: Kampmann et al. (2001) method to determe ΔHRT; LoA: Limits of Agreement; PMV-PPD: the Predicted Mean Vote and Predicted Percentage Dissatisfied; PHS: Predicted Heat Strain model; RCM: random coefficients model; SD: standard deviation; TC: core body temperature in °C; TCR: thermal cardiac reactivity in bpm °C−1; τΔHRT: rate of change in the heart rate thermal component in bpm min−1; τTC: rate of change in core body temperature in °C min−1; tα,n-1: Student’s t statistic with level of confidence alpha and n−1 degrees of freedom; TWL: Thermal Work Limit model; [Inline formula]: oxygen consumption in ml O2 kg−1 min−1; [Inline formula] max: maximal oxygen consumption in ml O2 kg−1 min−1; VOGT: Vogt et al. (1973) method to determine ΔHRT; WBGT: Wet-Bulb Globe Temperature in °C; WM: work metabolism
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Keywords: Heart rate thermal component; field methodology; forest work; heat stress monitoring; work metabolism estimation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering, Polytechnique Montréal, Montréal, Canada; 2: Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs, Direction de la recherche forestière, Québec, Canada

Publication date: August 3, 2019

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