Central America; agricultural worker; exposure; heat stress; sugarcane

Heat exposure in sugar cane harvesters in Costa Rica

Crowe J, Wesseling C, Roman Solano B, Pinto Umana M, Robles Ramirez A, Kjellstrom T, Morales D, Nilsson M

BACKGROUND: Occupational heat stress is a major concern in sugarcane production and has been hypothesized as a causal factor of a chronic kidney disease epidemic in Central America. This study described working conditions of sugarcane harvesters in Costa Rica and quantified their exposure to heat. METHODS: Non-participatory observation and Wet Bulb Globe Temperatures (WBGT) according to Spanish NTP (Technical Prevention Notes) guidelines were utilized to quantify the risk of heat stress. OSHA recommendations were used to identify corresponding exposure limit values. RESULTS: