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Physiological Strain in French Vineyard Workers Wearing Protective Equipment to Conduct Re-Entry Tasks in Humid Conditions

Abstract : The proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) plays an important role in reducing exposure to pesticides in vineyard farming activities, including re-entry tasks. However, discomfort from clothing systems may increase the physiological burden on workers. We compared the physiological burdens of vineyard workers wearing three different types of PPE during canopy management in field humid conditions while accounting for occupational, climatic, and geographical environments. The study was conducted in the Bordeaux vineyards of southern France during June 2012. A total of 42 workers from seven vineyards consented to field observations. The following PPE garments were randomly allocated: HF Estufa polyamide (Brisa®), Tyvek® Classic Plus, and Tychem® C Standard. Participant sociodemographic characteristics were collected using a structured questionnaire. Skin temperature and heart rate were monitored continuously using portable devices. Multivariate multilevel linear regression models were performed to account for the hierarchical structure of data. No significant difference was found for mean skin temperature during work. Regardless of the cardiac strain parameter considered, the Tyvek® Classic Plus garment produced the poorest results (P ≤ 0.03). Under the very humid conditions encountered during the field study, the thinness and breathability of the Tyvek® Classic Plus garment resulted in undergarment humidity, imposing additional physiological burden on vineyard workers. These results confirm that the idea of using generic coveralls in any farming activity is unsuitable. Compromises should be created between physiological costs and protection, depending on the agricultural task performed, the crop grown, and the environmental conditions encountered.
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Contributor : Laurent Jonchère <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, August 29, 2018 - 9:54:50 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, February 24, 2021 - 3:54:27 PM

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Sonia Grimbuhler, Jean-François Viel. Physiological Strain in French Vineyard Workers Wearing Protective Equipment to Conduct Re-Entry Tasks in Humid Conditions. Annals of Work Exposures and Health, Oxford University Press, 2018, 62 (8), pp.1040-1046. ⟨10.1093/annweh/wxy056⟩. ⟨hal-01863792⟩