Evaluation of wet bulb globe temperature index for estimation of heat strain in hot/humid conditions in the Persian Gulf

Habibolah Dehghan, Seyed B. Mortazavi, Mohammad J. Jafari, Mohammad R. Maracy


  • Background: Heat exposure among construction workers in the Persian Gulf region is a serious hazard for health. The aim of this study was to evaluate the performance of wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) Index for estimation of heat strain in hot/humid conditions by the use of Physiological Strain Index (PSI) as the gold standard.
  • Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was carried out on 71 workers of two Petrochemical Companies in South of Iran in 2010 summer. The WBGT index, heart rate, and aural temperature were measured by Heat Stress Monitor (Casella Microtherm WBGT), Heart Rate Monitor (Polar RS100), and Personal Heat Strain Monitor (Questemp II), respectively. The obtained data were analyzed with descriptive statistics and Pearson correlation analysis. Results: The mean (SD) of WBGT values was 33.1 (2.7). The WBGT values exceed from ACGIH standard (30°C) in 96% work stations, whereas the PSI values were more than 5.0 (moderate strain) in 11% of workstations. The correlation between WBGT and PSI values was 0.61 (P = 0.001). When WBGT values were less and more than 34°C, the mean of PSI was 2.6 (low strain) and 5.2 (moderate strain), respectively.
  • Conclusion: In the Persian Gulf weather, especially hot and humid in the summer months, due to the WBGT values exceeding 30°C (in 96% of cases) and weak correlation between WBGT and PSI, the work/rest cycles of WBGT Index is not suitable for heat stress management. Therefore, in Persian Gulf weather, heat stress evaluation based on physiologic variables may have higher validity than WBGT index.
  • Key words: Heat strain, Persian Gulf, Physiological Strain Index, WBGT Index

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