Title: Effects of chronic cold water exposure in fish harvesters on sensory and motor performance and cold tolerance

Authors: Chantel Armstrong; Jillian Holden; Brianna Walsh; Emily Walsh; Heather Carnahan

Addresses: School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University, St. John's NL, Canada ' School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University, St. John's NL, Canada ' School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University, St. John's NL, Canada ' School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University, St. John's NL, Canada ' School of Maritime Studies, Marine Institute of Memorial University, St. John's, NL, Canada

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to compare how fish harvesters who have years of chronic cold water exposure, differ from controls, with no history of cold exposure, on tests of sensation, motor performance and cold tolerance. Twelve fish harvesters and eight controls performed the following tests in both room temperature and cold conditions: VonFrey touch, grooved pegboard, manual dexterity, maximum cold exposure, and a discomfort rating. During the room temperature test, fish harvesters had a statistically higher VonFrey touch score than controls indicating decrements to their sense of touch. Results showed no statistically significant findings between groups for either of the motor performance, maximum cold exposure or discomfort tests. Findings suggest that chronic cold water exposure does not appear to lead to an adaptation to working in the cold, but instead can lead to non-freezing cold exposure injury.

Keywords: chronic exposure; cold water; fish harvester; performance; discomfort; sensation; dexterity; personal protective equipment; PPE; non-freezing cold injury; North Atlantic.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHFE.2020.112505

International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics, 2020 Vol.7 No.4, pp.314 - 324

Received: 08 May 2020
Accepted: 28 Aug 2020

Published online: 05 Jan 2021 *

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