A Multi-Level Approach to Heat Related Illness Prevention in Agricultural Workers

This study works in collaboration with Washington state growers and workers, farmworker housing partners, and Washington State University’s AgWeatherNet. This participatory intervention project introduces timely heat safety guidance to employers.

To date, the project team and its advisory board have completed English and Spanish versions of the participatory training program, “Heat Education & Awareness Tools (HEAT): A train-the-trainer guide for the identification, prevention, and treatment of heat illness in outdoor agricultural workers.” Additionally, the Heat Awareness app developed in conjunction with WSU AWN has been finalized and released in English and Spanish. Once downloaded, a user selects the WSU AWN weather station(s) of interest. When a hot day is forecasted, a notification provides a worker health risk category and agriculture-specific recommendations.

Summer 2019 saw the completion of an intensive 3-month field study to evaluate the effect of the educational intervention approach on farmworker heat symptoms and heat strain. Results from this field research are currently under analysis, although personal results have been shared back to our volunteer participants.

The training and app resources will be shared with all Washington state growers for Summer 2020.

Principal Investigator: June Spector, MD, MPH
Associate Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
University of Washington

NIOSH 2016-2022

Partnerships and Advisories
Washington State University, AgWeatherNet Program

UW Newsletter: Gabino Abarca: Bridging the Gap Between Research and Agricultural Work

Tigchelaar M, Battisti DS, Spector JT. Work Adaptations Insufficient to Address Growing Heat Risk for U.S. Agricultural Workers. Environ.Res Lett. 2020Sep;15(9):094035.

Heat Education & Awareness Tools (HEAT) training materials

Heat Knowledge Results Posters


Jared Egbert, Jennifer Krenz, Paul D. Sampson, Jihoon Jung, Miriam Calkins, Kai Zhang, Pablo Palmández, Paul Faestel & June T. Spector (2022) Accuracy of an estimated core temperature algorithm for agricultural workers, Archives of Environmental & Occupational Health, DOI: 10.1080/19338244.2022.2033672

Diana Marquez, Jennifer E. Krenz, Érica Chavez Santos, Elizabeth Torres, Pablo Palmández, Paul D. Sampson, Maria Blancas, Jose Carmona & June T. Spector (2022) The Effect of Participatory Heat Education on Agricultural Worker Knowledge, Journal of Agromedicine, DOI: 10.1080/1059924X.2022.2058667

Krenz, Jennifer, Erica Chavez Santos, Elizabeth Torres, Pablo Palmández, Jose Carmona, Maria Blancas, Diana Marquez, Paul Sampson, and June T. Spector. "The multi-level heat education and awareness tools [HEAT] intervention study for farmworkers: rationale and methods.Contemporary clinical trials communications 22 (2021): 100795.


Heat, Exposure, Injury Risk, and Productivity in Agricultural Workers

Pilot: Study of Risk Factors for Health-Related Illness in Agricultural Workers