n Ergonomics SA : Journal of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa - Cardiac stress in male brick field workers




The present cross-sectional study was carried out on male brick field workers (N=92) age 25 to 45 years in order to evaluate their cardiac stress during work by measuring the cardiac stress index (CSI) and to compare the data with a control group (N=60). Physical parameters indicated that the workers were non-obese, non-overweight and thin as per the classification of the World Health Organization. No significant intergroup difference was noticed in resting heart rate but working heart rate and CSI at work were significantly (p<0.001) higher among the working group. There were significantly higher working heart rates and CSI among the brick field workers from 9am to 12 noon as well as from 2pm to 5pm. This was due to their exposure to much higher physical work loads during those times which were carried out under hot conditions (temperature ranging between 36-400°C with relative humidity of 80-90%). This imposed a tremendous heat stress on them. However, after the recess pauses, improvements were noticed in working heart rates and the CSI. In conclusion, it was found that the male brick field workers had significantly higher cardiac stress than their control counterparts. Therefore, ergonomically it can be suggested that the brick field workers must try to work more in the early morning as well as after the sun sets with proper illumination facilities. Furthermore, intermittent breaks of short duration will also be more productive and beneficial to them.


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