Introduction. This study will investigate knowledge, attitude and practices towards heat-related health issues in a sample of safety representatives from Northern Italy (HSRs).
Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was conducted in 2016-2017 among 298 HSR. Knowledge status was measured both in general but as well and focusing on first-aid issues. Assessment of risk perception included severity and frequency of heat-related events. Multivariate logistic regression analysis assessed individual and work-related characteristics associated with HSRs’ risk perception.
Results: 258 questionnaires were retrieved (participation rate 86.6%; mean age 48.2±8.4 years). Knowledge status was relatively good on technical/preventive issues (62.3%%±16.8) and first aid measures (72.6%±27.2), but a large share of respondents ignored the risk from exertional heat stroke (35.9%), and for heat strokes elicited by non-environmental heat (e.g. machineries, use of protective equipment, etc. 47.9%). The majority of respondents acknowledged the high frequency of HW events (62.0%), but only 44.6% agreed on their potential health threat, with an unsatisfying cumulative risk perception score (55.4%±23.5). A specific first-aid formation course was reported by 49.2% of respondents, while 10.9% had any previous interaction with heat-related disorders. Specific countermeasures for heat waves had been put in place by parent company in 20.1% of cases. Eventually, higher educational achievements (mOR 2.239, 95%CI 1.184 - 4.233) and a better general knowledge status (mOR 1.703, 95%CI 1.073 - 2.979) were positive predictors for higher risk perception.
Conclusions: Although HSRs exhibited a good understanding of heat-related health issues, stakeholders should improve the implementation of specific countermeasures on the workplaces.
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