How to Prevent Heat-Related Illness with Wearable Tech?

How to Prevent Heat-Related Illness with Wearable Tech

Heat related diseases may affect indoor and outdoor workers, raising concerns ranging from heat stroke to decreased productivity. Workers in confined spaces and those equipped with a large number of masks or respirators are more vulnerable. Cooling space is not always an option. Some workplaces are outdoors, others are not easy to cool. In these cases, the environment around the workers must be carefully monitored to detect the possible hazardous situation before it causes injury or disease.

Why Use Wearable Tech to Prevent Heat-related Illness?

The reason is obvious. In addition to getting sick due to overheating, workers also become irritable, forgetful and careless, resulting in lower productivity. Sweat from high temperatures can drip into the eyes, blurring vision or causing hand slippage. Research shows that when the temperature exceeds 77 ° F, the productivity of workers decreases by more than 1% for every two degrees of increase. At 92 ° f or higher, the productivity will decrease by 16.6%.

Types of Work that May Suffer from Heat Diseases

Possible heat stress diseases: law enforcement personnel, riot police, dangerous goods response team, oil and gas workers, construction workers and nuclear safety personnel. Technology developers are currently conducting a number of pilot and Research on these high-risk groups. A solution under test sets the upper and lower limits of body temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate and combines them with the alarm index. If the worker shows obvious signs of heat stress based on the collected data, the color marker will remind the incident commander to intervene without interpreting the data.

Technology developers are also committed to solving the trade-off between sensor accuracy and user comfort. Our goal is to have an accurate sensor that is comfortable to wear in long-term intensive use. In order to meet this challenge, a large number of experiments and tests are being carried out. An example of a challenge is that in many environments, workers will be very hot and sweat, and the salt in the sweat will interfere with some of the signals they are trying to collect. Technology is being developed to protect the system from human sweat.

Workers in construction, landscaping, oil and gas exploration, emergency response, firefighters and many other fields work under high temperature conditions. These tasks can lead to a rapid rise in body temperature, which increases the risk of heat related diseases.

Traditionally, the mitigation of work-related febrile diseases relies on monitoring the heat stress of the external environment, such as wet bulb temperature, rather than focusing on physiological response – heart rate, skin and core temperature. However, it is a challenge to protect workers from heat stress diseases caused by personal factors (age, gender, chronic diseases, drug use, health status, hydration adaptation, shift time, disease, etc.).

The progress of wearable technology makes it possible to monitor one or more physiological factors of heat stress. R & D experiments and pilots come from sports performance companies, the military, NASA and start-ups. After all, many workers are considered industrial athletes, and many wear heavy personal protective equipment (PPE) similar to soldiers.

  • Wearable Heatstroke Detection Equipment

A technical example: Wearable heatstroke detection device has early notification function. Physical sensors, such as skin electrical response, heartbeat and body temperature, collect medical data from staff. The risk assessment function component detects heatstroke signals for users. If a dangerous situation is detected, the device will activate the alarm function to remind the user to make an appropriate response – safe addition – to avoid heatstroke.

  • Equipment for Detecting Student Heatstroke

Another device is used to monitor the heatstroke of student athletes. Summer camp training reaches more than 100 people ˚ F. the system will alert students to the rise of their core temperature before they show signs of disease. Then, he can immediately cool and replenish water for complete recovery.

  • Wearable Wristband

In the first decade of the 21st century, the number of sports deaths caused by high temperature reached 690 every year, and thousands of athletes went to the emergency room every year. Teams and employers are turning to wearable devices so that users can monitor the factors that cause heatstroke. Sweat plays an obvious role in helping the body cool down. A wearable wrist strap has a biosensor strip, which can read the chemical composition of the user’s sweat. When these data are combined with physical factors such as heart rate and speed, the band can remind the wearer when to replenish water, rest or electrolyte.

  • Thermal Stress Tracker

Another thermal stress tracker can detect when heat related conditions are unsafe, even before your body is unsafe. Track wind speed, temperature, wind speed and other factors in the work environment to determine which environmental factors may cause danger to employees at any location.

The health and comfort of emergency personnel is one of the early beneficiaries of wearable sensors for monitoring heat stress. When working or training in high temperature or hazardous environment, the weight and insulation characteristics of PPE of the first response personnel further increase their burden. This combination of risks can easily lead to overheating. Not surprisingly, there is growing interest in technologies that can report the wearer’s vital signs in real time and be used for post hoc analysis. For emergency personnel, another risk related to heat: a recent study reported that long-term exposure to heat may lead to heart problems; Previously, direct exposure to heat stress was considered a risk factor. Therefore, there may be cumulative effects. The technical developer said that firefighters need to monitor their hot air risk at each exposure, and the occupational safety and health team should monitor them over time.

How To Prevent Heat Related Illness

There are many ways to help workers stay cool, such as fans, hydration stations, thermometers, and frequent breaks. M ā Kusafe’s wearable safety devices include sensors that can more accurately measure the temperature of the environment around workers, not just in specific areas of buildings or workplaces. The sensor in the equipment is worn on the upper arm of the worker with a non slip and comfortable belt, which can accurately read the temperature around the worker and send an alarm to the safety manager when the heat reading reaches a dangerous level. Security leaders in cloud based analysis platform M ā Kusmart receives notifications. The platform collects wearable data and synthesizes it into useful insights and notifications, or they can subscribe to text alerts. These sensors and the notifications they generate enable safety leaders to prioritize workers and facility areas that require thermal stress mitigation strategies.

  • Skyview Location

Via M ā With kusmart’s skyview function, safety leaders can also fully understand issues ranging from high heat to air quality, sound dose and dangerous movements in facilities. M ā The kusmart platform displays your facility plan or site map and overlays indicators on it, so you can view the visual heat map of the indicator pop-up location and analyze trends and events in various areas of the facility. This aerial view allows security leaders to scan their facility areas and prioritize follow-up and further investigations as needed.

  • Voice Memo 

Without leaving the station, the workers can also pass on the real-time problems related to heat to the safety leader by pressing the button in the middle of the equipment and recording a voice memo. The voice memo is sent to M ā Kusmart platform. For example, workers ask to refuel the hydration station, let the supervisor know that they feel dizzy, or notify the safety leader that the fan is not working properly. These voice memos are a near miss capture strategy that provides a direct communication line between front-line employees and safety leaders, allowing employees to easily communicate before problems become recordable events.

  • Plan Ahead and Prevent

Although it is almost impossible to eliminate all heat related events, wearable technology can now be used to predict and prevent diseases caused by heat. Working under high temperature conditions, we must work together to ensure the safety of our employees.

Employees are subjected to hydration tests before and during shifts, and are also required to take regular breaks and use cooling showers. Cooling rooms, drinking water stations, ice makers and portable air conditioning units in the EGA operating area help employees stay cool. In addition to reusable water bottles and electrolyte drinks, UV protection and heat rash prevention creams can also help people stay comfortable.

Challenges Of Wearable Devices To Prevent Heat Illness

The research and development of wearable devices face challenges while enhancing applications. A device has an interface that allows it to integrate with external sensors, allowing the addition of environmental data such as pollution, noise, gas detection, video and weather data. This provides complete situational awareness for human heat stress, safety and performance monitoring. When selecting new technologies for heat stress monitoring and disease prevention, consider whether the equipment can produce the results you want; Develop according to the needs of the real world; It has been tested and proved in the application research under different environments. At present, many technologies have not been verified by independent research. R & D work is at different stages of development.

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