Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Public Health (M.S.P.H.)

Degree Granting Department

Public Health

Major Professor

Steven P. Mlynarek, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas E. Bernard, Ph.D.

Committee Member

René R. Salazar, Ph.D.


heat stress


Occupationally induced heat-related illnesses (HRI) can play a huge part in the lives of employees working within outdoor kitchens. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health [NIOSH] (2016), “exposure to heat can result in injuries, disease, reduced productivity and death”. When working in outdoor environments, it is important to limit exposure time of direct sun or heat as well as to stay properly hydrated. One way to ensure limited occupational heat exposure is by measuring the Heat Index of the worker's environmental conditions.

The purpose of this study is to determine whether there was a difference between the indoor and outdoor Heat Index measurements among various kitchens. Multiple locations within eight, freestanding, take-away service kitchens were sampled over a period of three days. A 3M QUESTemp 46 Heat Stress Monitor was used to sample the outdoor and indoor environmental conditions, specifically capturing the indoor Heat Index measurements. The outdoor Heat Index was reported with meteorological data from Weather Underground linked to the National Weather Service.

Multiple statistical analyses were performed to understand and explore the relationships between or among the difference of indoor to outdoor Heat Index measurements, as well as kitchen production levels and forced air ventilation. The results showed that higher production kitchens had a significantly greater increase in Heat Index compared to low production and high production kitchens with forced air ventilation. Due to the small sample size of this study, it is recommended that future efforts to compare indoor and outdoor Heat Index measurements for kitchens include a larger sample size of both kitchens and locations.