Using a qualitative phenomenological approach to inform the etiology and prevention of occupational heat-related injuries in Australia

Alana L. Hansen, Susan Williams, Scott Hanson-easey, Blesson M. Varghese, Peng Bi, Jane Heyworth, Monika Nitschke, Shelley Rowett, Malcolm R. Sim, Dino L. Pisaniello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Epidemiological evidence has shown an association between exposure to high temperatures and occupational injuries, an issue gaining importance with environmental change. The aim of this study was to better understand contributing risk factors and preventive actions based on personal experiences. Interviews were conducted with 21 workers from five Australian states using a critical phenomenological approach to capture the lived experiences of participants, whilst exploring contextual factors that surround these experiences. Two case studies are presented: a cerebrovascular injury and injuries among seasonal horticulture workers. Other accounts of heat‐related injuries and heat stress are also presented. Risk factors were classified as individual, interpersonal and organizational. In terms of prevention, participants recommended greater awareness of heat risks and peer‐support for co‐workers. Adding value to current evidence, we have provided new insights into the etiology of the health consequences of workplace heat exposure with workers identifying a range of influencing factors, prevention measures and adaptation strategies. Underpinning the importance of these are future climate change scenarios, suggesting that extended hot seasons will lead to increasing numbers of workers at risk of heat‐stress and associated occupational injuries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number846
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

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