Degree Name

MSEH (Master of Science in Environmental Health)


Environmental Health

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Kenneth Z. Silver

Committee Members

Kurt Maier, Joseph Florence


The rate of heat-related fatalities in crop production workers is almost 20 times that of other industries. Heat stress was investigated in migrant tomato workers in July, 2012, using measurements of body temperature, heart rates, body weight loss, evaluation of the thermal environment, and survey data. Using occupational safety criteria, these workers were found to work in an environment that should require protective measures to prevent heat strain. Increases in body temperature, heart rate, and physiological strain correlated with heat exposure. One third of workers had body weight percentage losses that indicated dehydration. However, working in hot environments appears to elicit a low magnitude of strain in well acclimated workers who self-pace. Key findings suggest the need for worker and employer safety training regarding acclimation and hydration. Survey data showed that less than 30% have had any heat-related safety training.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.