Physiological monitoring and field verification of exposure limits in older miners exposed to high heat stress conditions

Underground miners traditionally work in harsh environments containing dust and noxious gases. Recently, there is concern that the increasing risk of heat exposure may compound the deleterious effects of these conditions and further subject the workers to increased risk of heat stress. A new and growing challenge to the industry is that the Ontario mining workforce is rapidly aging. Older workers are at a greater risk of developing a heat related injury, which is further exacerbated by poor physical fitness and disease states. Research focused on optimizing safety for an aging workforce is of paramount interest to the industry. This research will focus on examining the effects of aging on thermoregulatory responses associated with physical work performed in adverse environments. A key objective of this work is to establish appropriate exposure limits based upon typical mining work conditions that can protect miners of all ages working in hot and hostile conditions.

Heather E. Wright
Faculty Supervisor: 
Dr. Glen P. Kenny