26. Exposure to extreme heat, especially if combined with high humidity, can increase workers’ risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)

Exposure to extreme heat – particularly if high humidity is also involved – can increase the risk of workers developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

The worker’s body attempts to regulate the body temperature through increased blood circulation and increased perspiration, which means relatively less blood is circulated to the active muscles, brain and other internal organs.

The increased effort needed for the body to regulate its body temperature results in fatigue, discomfort and reduced strength – which lead to MSDs caused by:

  • difficulty in handling and gripping objects due to perspiration on the hands
  • sudden or unexpected forces due to:
    • loads slipping in sweaty hands
    • handling wet or damp objects (may require increased force).
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