A study was conducted with staff at a fly-in/fly-out mine camp to determine the: hydration knowledge, perceptions and behaviours; hydration status and needs; and perceived taste of potable water. A structured questionnaire was used to survey the self-reported hydration behaviour, knowledge and perception of. The study of the hydration status and needs of day shift staff while at the residential camp comprised measurements at 1800 h and 0600 h of weight, urine specific gravity and fluid intake. Staff rated the perceived taste of bottled, filtered potable and unfiltered potable waters on a seven point visual analogue scale. The mean correct responses to the knowledge items surveyed (n=78) was 9.2 out of 12. Three-quarters (n=15) of the 20 responses to an open-ended question suggested improved water taste to increase water consumption. In the hydration status study (n=46), the mean urine specific gravities at 1800 h and 0600 h were both 1.022, and the median fluid intake and loss rates were both 2.1 ml.kg-1.h-1. Staff (n=105) rated unfiltered water (median 4.0) as tasting significantly worse than bottled (median 6.0) or filtered (median 6.0) waters (Friedman test, p<0.001). While dehydration knowledge appears adequate, the observed fluid intakes and specific gravities demonstrate that external factors such as perceived taste of water influence hydration behaviour.
2007 by National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health