Prepared by the Human and Environmental Physiology Research Unit (HEPRU)

Workers in the mining industry commonly experience hyperthermia while performing their duties because the environmental temperature and humidity are very high and the necessity to wear protective clothing restricts the body’s ability to dissipate internal heat.  Of these, nearly 20% of all miners experience occupational heat stress resulting in dangerous increases in core temperature and burden placed on the cardiovascular system (i.e., elevated heart rate).  A sustained elevated core temperature can lead to major heat-related disorders such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke that involve varying degrees of thermoregulatory failure. It can also induce significant reductions in worker productivity and cognitive function leading to an elevated risk of work-related injuries and increased absenteeism. As mine operations extend to greater depths, workers will increasingly face harsh working conditions (i.e., elevated ambient temperatures and humidity) placing them at increased risk of heat-related injuries including long-term health-related complications. In many cases, heat-related injuries can go undetected throughout a work shift leading to a progressive deterioration in health and well-being over time.

While occupational safety agencies have recommended upper limits for occupational heat stress designed to protect workers for some time, heat stress continues to compromise health and productivity. This can in part be attributed to the fact that i) employers are given relatively limited guidance in how best to implement heat management and mitigation strategies, ii) heat prevention programs continue to be absent or incomplete in many workplaces, iii) employers continue to underestimate the risks associated with heat stress, and/or; iv) current occupational heat stress management assume a one-size-fits-all approach and do not consider individual variability in physiological tolerance to given heat stress. Taken together, these observations highlight the need for effective heat management programs to optimize work capabilities and mitigate the excess risks for morbidity and mortality associated with occupational heat stress.

To increase awareness and preparedness of the mining industry to combat the occupational hazard caused by heat stress, we must understand current practices employed by the industry to manage heat stress in the workplace and identify gaps in current practices. To facilitate this process, we ask that you complete the questionnaire below. It should take approximately 10 minutes. Your responses are entirely confidential and anonymous. We ask that you only complete the questionnaire once, but you can edit your responses until submitted.

It is important to note that you are under no obligation to participate even if you have received the survey from your employer. Your employer will not know who has agreed to participate.
In order to minimize the risk of security breaches and to help ensure your confidentiality, it is recommended that you use standard safety measures, such as signing out of your account, closing your browser, and locking your device when you are no longer using it/when you have completed the survey. All raw data collected from the online survey will be stored using alphanumeric coding systems. Data will be kept in the Human and Environmental Physiology Research Unit in locked file cabinets and only Dr. Kenny will have access to your data. You can request to discuss the results of the questionnaire at the completion of the study. The data collected in this study will be published in scientific journals. The data will be destroyed (deleted from computer storage) immediately following publication of data. By completing and returning the survey, I understand that I am consenting to participate in this research study. If you have any questions please ema