Wicked problem report[28]

Table of Contents

Wicked problem solvingItzahi RodelaThe University of Texas at El PasoEnvironmental Health December 6, 2018AbstractThere is no doubt that the earth’s climate is changing and it is already affecting human health and the environment. This article aims to review the characteristics of workplace heat exposure in high risk occupations, summarize findings, and provide solutions/suggestions to reduce heat exposure and adapt to these specific high temperature environments. Workers who are at risk are construction workers, fire fighters, miners, soldiers and manufacturing workers and especially agriculture workers. Heat exposure is a well-known health hazard; it is recommended that workers do take breaks throughout their working hours, use protective clothing, use a damp rag and be alert to heat related illnesses. There aren’t any laws that clearly say the minimum or maximum temperature that is safe for agriculture workers to work in. Policy-makers and stakeholders should implement a new law in order to protect agriculture workers from harm and to provide comfort. A solution can be having them work before sunrise at four in the morning until noon. . Introduction Temperatures have been rising throughout the years and extreme hot temperatures do contribute to morbidity and mortality. Extreme heat temperatures affect the vulnerable populations including, elderly, children and those who have chronic diseases. Extreme hot temperatures also affect the performance and work capacity of agriculture workers when having to work in high temperatures. Agriculture workers are exposed to heat related illnesses in the summer from 10 am to 4 pm. High temperatures may result in leading to more heat related illnesses such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion and fatigue. There aren’t many laws or regulations that protect agriculture workers from climate change related hazards. Further research has to be done and new policies need to be implemented to protect the health of agriculture workers that pose health illnesses when working in high temperatures. Identifying issue Temperatures are increasing around the globe, worsening the existing heat burden of tropical areas and beyond, for indoors as well as outdoors work environments (Kiefer, M, 2016). Climate change is indeed a controversial topic but temperatures are certainly increasing and earth’s surface temperatures are increasing. Climate change is increased ambient heat exposure particularly in tropical countries where heat exposure levels are already verging on untenable during parts of the day (Lucas,2014). The average internal temperature of the human body is 98.6 Fahrenheit but it may vary with individuals. A combination of high temperatures and physical activity can raise the internal body’s temperature. Agriculture workers are put in risk of severe health harm when working in high temperatures during the summer. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has not identified any heat standards despite petitions from various workers in the United States. In 1972 and in 2011 the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommended standard requiring employers to protect their workers from heat stress but OSHA failed to respond and no standards have been implemented (Tanglis, 2018). There are only guidelines provided to minimize any heat related illnesses. Workers should always wear appropriate clothing, personal protective equipment, frequent breaks, keep hydrated and identity and response to any symptoms. Although these guidelines do help in keeping the workers safe, there are little opportunities for improvement to providing new policies regarding the health of workers. In addition to heat related illnesses, exposure to high temperatures for a long period of time can also increase the risk of occupational injuries and accidents (Xiang, 2013). Linking theory to real life (1 page)Summarized literature reviewClimate change is a very controversial topic that many believe it is not true and other believes it is true. Climate change has been increasing temperatures globally and heat related deaths and illnesses has increased (Patz,2014). Climate change is indeed a challenge to global health and it can affect the health by heat related illnesses, deaths, air pollution health effects, allergic diseases, infectious diseases, and malnutrition (Patz, 2014). Agriculture workers are among the highest risk of heat related injuries and illness among with construction workers and miners. They are often exposed to long working hours in the heat and there is a lack of occupational health and safety programs available for them (Xiang, 2013). Those who are paid hourly take frequent breaks and drink more water compared to those who are paid by the piece. Workers who are paid by the piece are more likely to have a high risk of developing any kind of heat related illnesses. There hasn’t been enough study done in order to fully understand how climate change can affect the health but it has proven that high temperatures can put at risk heavy labor workers. The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 says that employees must maintain a reasonable and comfortable temperature, but it does not say a specific maximum temperature. There is a minimum temperature of 16°C, or 13°Cif the workplace involves any rigorous physical activity. The Management of Health and Safety at Work regulations 1999 require employees to assess the risks and take action if needed and when needed (Grayham, 1997). Heat related deaths are often underreported due to the fear of farmworkers being fired so the heat related deaths statistics are not well known and may increase as temperatures increase. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 1992 and 2006 a total of 423 workers died from environmental heat among all workers and 68 crop production workers died (Bethel. 2014). The National Weather Services also reported a 10-year annual average of 97 deaths due to the high temperatures (Roelofs, 2018). The rising temperatures will make outdoor activities and agriculture workers health be in danger if no actions are taken. California was the first state to implement heat standards for workers who are exposed to long hours in the sun and are at risk to heat related illnesses. Washington also came up with heat standards that protect outdoor workers. In 2005 California passed a law that requires farmworkers to be provided with sufficient water, shade and rest after four farmworkers duded from heat illnesses (Nelson, 2017). Although there has been strategies and guidelines provided to prevent heat-related illnesses such as drinking water every 15 to 20 minutes, have frequent break periods, wearing appropriate clothing such as hats and long sleeve shirts there are still barriers that need to be overcome to prevent heat-related illnesses. Barriers vary among cultures, for example; avoidance of Heat related illnesses treatments, unwillingness to identify the need to take a break, not reporting symptoms because of legal status, and the preference of energy drinks to improve alertness (Bethel, 2014). Stakeholders and contractors need to fully understand the effects of climate change has on farm workers and how risky it is to work long hours in the sun. Workers’ rights and public health advocacy groups want for the health administration to provide specific heat stress protections for agriculture workers and those who are vulnerable. It is said that agricultures do not recognize heat related illnesses symptoms and may be too scared to ask for any kind of break time and some water because it may jeopardize their work position. SolutionsAccording to the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) there are programs that provide farmers and employees with trainings to prevent heat-related illnesses. Guidelines are provided and if steps are followed appropriately any heat related illnesses and death can be prevented and avoided. Farmers are required to drink water throughout the day, it is recommended to drink water every few minutes in order to stay hydrated, take several breaks and get in the shade when needed. According to the Association of Farmworker opportunity programs recommendations like wearing light colored, loose fitting clothing, gradually build up to heavy work, if possible do the heavy work early in the morning when the day is still cool, avoid alcohol or any large amounts of caffeine during work hours, and if any symptoms of heat stress appear a break needs to be taken. There are several heat stress prevention trainings available for farmworkers. The programs available for the agriculture workers provide necessary information for them to recognize any symptoms of heat related illnesses, teaches them how to prevent heat stroke, and also teaches them how to act in a case of emergency. If farm workers were to work in the night from 7pm to 3 am that would decrease the time farm workers spend with their families and would be at risk at mental health illnesses. Farm workers would have to sleep during the day and work in the night to decrease the time they are exposed to the sun. There are several crops that are harvested in the night and farms have to work night shifts to harvest those crops. Workings in the night are putting at risk workers from falling, health illnesses and are at risk from nocturnal animals. It has been proven that construction workers and nurses that work night shift have been affected and have low immune system, increase risk to cardiovascular diseases, and can interrupt hormone release cycles (Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety, 2017). If agriculture workers are put to work in the night OSHA will have to keep an eye on the health of the workers and report any health illnesses.The average time agriculture workers start to work is at 8 in the morning, take a break around noon and end the day at 4 pm or 5pm. Agricultural workers are mostly exposed to the sun from noon until 4 pm, leaving them at risk to heat related illnesses. Another solution to minimize sun exposure would be if they were to work from 4 in the morning until noon. If farm workers are required to working early morning it would also protect them from any mental illnesses, will have enough day time available to spend with family, will not expose them to the sun as much and will be able to harvest crops before sun rise and will be able to stop working before the sun is at its highest intensity and UV light is the strongest. Another solution would be having agriculture workers to start working at 5 in the afternoon until 12 midnight and work 6 days out of the week to complete the 40 hours. Working in the afternoon when the sun is setting would decrease the amount of time workers are in the sun and will be able to get out of work by midnight. According to the EPA individuals should reduce the time in the sun between 10 am and 4 pm when the sun is the strongest and health illnesses risk increases. If agriculture workers were to work from 5 pm to 12 pm they would still have enough sunlight to see and will be able to spend enough time with the family during the day. Reflection Further research needs to be done to fully understand and examine how climate change is affecting not only agricultural workers but also those vulnerable workers. Appropriate surveillance and indicators need to be implicated and developed to reduce heat related illnesses, investigate if the rights of agricultural workers are being violated and are working longer hours without taking breaks. If there was more research done it may lead to awareness of the consequences of rising temperatures on health. Action needs to be taken on the health consequences of climate change. Requires action rooted in both mitigation and adaption at all levels- from global to local- and from all sectors and individuals (Hayes, 2018). The occupational safety and health other public health professions could assess risk assessment among this population for policies to be developed. Interventions can reduce the effects of climate change and can coping with the risks of climate change can help agriculture workers. It all starts from education, if the population was educated and aware of how climate change can affect the health I think all heat related deaths would decrease. I do not understand why OSHA has not implemented any specific standard to protect agriculture workers. If OSHA was created to protect workers it is necessary for them to take actions and come up with necessary policies and procedures to protect agriculture workers. It is not easy coming up with solutions to protect agriculture workers since there isn’t many much information and research done about global warming and agriculture workers. In order to protect agriculture workers, it is necessary to know how machines operate and what is needed to be done during the day to grow enough crops.References (8 sources min)Bethel, J. W., & Harger, R. (2014). Heat-related illness among Oregon farmworkers. International journal of environmental research and public health, 11(9), 9273-85. doi:10.3390/ijerph110909273Grayham, D., & Rosario, V. D. (1997). The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992. Journal of the Royal Society of Health,117(1), 47-51. doi:10.1177/146642409711700112Hayes, K., Blashki, G., Wiseman, J., Burke, S., & Reifels, L. (2018). Climate change and mental health: Risks, impacts and priority actions. International Journal of Mental Health Systems,12(1). doi:10.1186/s13033-018-0210-6Kiefer, M., Rodríguez-Guzmán, J., Watson, J., van Wendel de Joode, B., Mergler, D., & da Silva, A. S. (2016). Worker health and safety and climate change in the Americas: issues and research needs. Revista panamericana de salud publica = Pan American journal of public health, 40(3), 192-197.Lucas, R. A., Epstein, Y., & Kjellstrom, T. (2014). Excessive occupational heat exposure: A significant ergonomic challenge and health risk for current and future workers. Extreme Physiology & Medicine,3(1), 14. doi:10.1186/2046-7648-3-14Nelson, D. (2017, August 31). Protecting California’s farmworkers as temperatures climb. Patz, JA; Frumkin, H; Holloway, T; Vimont, DJ; Haines, A; (2014) Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities for Global Health. JAMA. ISSN 0098-7484 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2014.13186Roelofs, C. (2018). Without Warning: Worker Deaths From Heat 2014–2016. NEW SOLUTIONS: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy, 28(2), 344–357. https://doi.org/10.1177/1048291118777874Tanglis, M., Gilbert, L., & Lincoln, T. (2018, July 17). Extreme Heat and Unprotected Workers[PDF].Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety. (2017, May 16). Retrieved from https://aghealth.ucdavis.edu/news/night-work-growing-trend-western-agricultureXiang, J., Bi, P., Pisaniello, D., & Hansen, A. (2013). Health impacts of workplace heat exposure: an epidemiological review. Industrial health, 52(2), 91-101.