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Air temperature exposure and agricultural occupational injuries in the Autonomous Province of Trento (2000–2013, North-Eastern Italy)

Provincial Agency for Health Services of the Autonomous Province of Trento (APSS), Trento, Italy (Department of Prevention, Health and Safety Unit)
Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between high air temperatures and occupational injuries (OIs) occurred during the summer seasons 2000–2013 in agricultural workers from the Autonomous Province of Trento (APT), North-Eastern Italy. Material and Methods: Data about OIs for the APT from 2000 to 2013 occurring during the warm season (N = 7325) was provided by the National Institute of Insurance for Occupational Illness and Injury. Daily average and daily maximum temperatures values for the specific geographical site of events were retrieved. Daily temperatures were then assessed in 3 time lags: for the day of the event (lag 0), and for the previous 24 h (lag 1) and 48 h (lag 2). Daily temperatures were then categorized in 3 exposure groups (< 75th, 75–95th and > 95th percentiles). The risk of OIs was assessed as odds ratio (OR) calculated through a Poisson regression model controlled for age, sex, ethnicity and time period, and assuming OI rates for days on which temperature was comprised in < 75th percentile exposure groups as the referent ones. Results: Estimated incidence of OIs during the study period was 3.4±2.3 events/day. The peak of work-related accidents occurred on days characterized by severe thermal conditions, and in particular during heat waves (incidence rate ratio = 1.09, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.02–1.17, p = 0.0165). Days having temperatures higher than 95th percentile, assessed as daily average, both on current days (OR = 1.119, 95% CI: 1.008–1.242) and in lag 1 (OR = 1.125, 95% CI: 1.013–1.249), as well as daily maximum temperatures, were at the highest risk of work-related injuries (OR = 1.144, 95% CI: 1.029–1.272). Conclusions: In conclusion, presented findings recommend policymakers to develop appropriate warning/alert systems for agricultural workers regarding high environmental temperatures. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2018;31(3)
Matteo Riccò   
Provincial Agency for Health Services of the Autonomous Province of Trento (APSS), Department of Prevention, Health and Safety Unit, Viale Verona SNC C/O Big Center, 38123 Trento, Italy