Feasibility of Relative Strain Index (RSI) for the Assessment of Heat Stress in Outdoor Environments: Case Study in Three Different Climates of Iran
Mehdi Asghari1, Gholamabbas Fallah Ghalhari2, Marzieh Abbasinia3, Fahimeh Shakeri2, Reza Tajik1, *, Mohammad Javad Ghannadzadeh4
1 Department of Occupational Health Engineering, School of Public Health, Arak University of Medical Sciences, Arak, Iran
2 Faculty of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Hakim Sabzevari University, Sabzevar, Iran
3 Department of Occupational Health Engineering, School of Public Health, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran
4 Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of Public Health, Arak University of Medical Sciences, Arak, Iran
Different indices are used to evaluate heat stress in outdoor environments. This study was aimed at examining the applicability of the Relative Strain Index (RSI) to the assessment of heat stress in several climates of Iran.
Based on the Köppen classification, three different climates were studied. Arak, Bandar Abbas, and Sari were selected as representative of semi-arid and cold climates, hot and dry, and Mediterranean, respectively. The data recorded by the meteorological organization, including air temperature, relative humidity and air velocity were surveyed during 15-year period in three different climates. The RSI index was calculated by the formula. Also, the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) index was computed using a model presented by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (ABM). Data were analyzed using SPSS v.22, descriptive statistics, Pearson correlation coefficient, and linear regression.
The mean RSI index in summer of the 15 years in Arak was 0.033 ± 0.33, in Bandar Abbas 0.54 ± 0.6 and for Sari was 0.17 ± 0.05. A high correlation was found between environmental variables and RSI index in three different climates. As well, there was a positive and significant correlation between both RSI and WBGT indices in three different climates (R2>0.96).
The RSI index is a simple and empirical index and can be used for the evaluation of heat stress along with other indices. The index estimates the situation more than expected to be stressful in warm and dry conditions. So, it is not a useful index for hot and dry climates such as Bandar Abbas.
Keywords: Outdoor environments, Heat stress, Relative Strain Index, Wet Bulb Glob Temperature, Outdoor environments, Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
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* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Occupational Health Engineering, School of Public Health, Arak University of Medical Sciences, Arak, Iran; Tel: +989121915049; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org