Effects of cold stress on worker performance in a refrigerated warehouse
Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
Master of Science
Occupational Safety and Health Engineering
Sengupta, Arijit K.
Van Houten, Norman J.
The effects of cold stress were evaluated on worker performance in a low temperature environment. Level of clothing protection was compared to the functional ability of working on various tasks. Physical as well as mental effects were discussed to develop a basis for the physiological adaptations due to cold stress. The study focused on workers that performed various simple and complex tasks in a refrigerated warehouse with a temperature range 32° - 40°F. Surveys were distributed to employees who presently and previously worked in this refrigerated area. The "Picker" and "Feeder" tasks were analyzed as they pertain to this low temperature environment. Workers' productivity was also observed on each work task at 5-minute intervals for the following time periods: 1) Post-shift start, 2) Pre-break, 3) Post-break, and 4) Pre-shift end.
Results from the observations showed a decreasing trend in productivity towards the lunch break compared with the beginning of the shift. Similarly, a downward productivity trend occurred towards the end of the shift compared to when they first came back from lunch break. Suggestions for workplace modifications and environmental controls were provided based on the worker surveys and productivity observations. These recommendations are a model for this and future refrigerated warehouses in terms of improving thermal comfort, safety and production efficiency.
njit-etd2001-005 (74 pages ~ 3,295 KB pdf)
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Created August 22, 2001