Article included in edition Volume XII :: Nr.2 :: December 2016

Empirical Research

The thermal discomfort caused by personal protective equipment (PPE) used while spraying pesticides

Marcelo Motta Veiga1, Ronaldo Almeida2 & Francisco Duarte3
(1) Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro,
Rua Voluntários da Pátria, 107, CEP: 22.20-000, Rio de Janeiro – Brasil
(2) Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Ministério da Saúde,
Rua Leopoldo Bulhões, 1480/512, CEP: 22.041-210. Rio de Janeiro – Brasil
(3) Instituto Alberto Luiz Coimbra de Pós-Graduação e Pesquisa em Engenharia – (COPPE), Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro,
Av. Horácio Macedo, 2030, G-209, Prédio do Centro de Tecnologia, Cidade Universitária, CEP 21941-914, Rio de Janeiro Brasil

Human metabolism produces heat during labor activities. The human body works as a thermodynamic system maintaining a steady body temperature. The use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) jeopardizes the heat dissipation, making it difficult to keep the body temperature at a comfortable level. This study analyzed the interference of PPE in workers’ thermal comfort. This study made measurements of heart rate and body temperature of workers using PPE during the process of spraying pesticides. This study also made subjective evaluations of thermal sensation of workers through a questionnaire. The results demonstrated: (i) the inadequacy of PPE projects because they indicated a negative impact on body thermoregulation process and (ii) the existence of significant individual differences between the monitored workers, which may be related to different operating modes. This study showed that there is a strong correlation between the subjective evaluation of the thermal sensation by workers and body temperature measured.

Keywords personal protective equipment, thermal comfort, pesticide.