There are significant guidelines and recommendations for those businesses which need employees to work in extreme heat conditions to carry out their jobs, in both inside and outside environments.
However, these guidelines and recommendations relate to scenarios where the person is already feeling the effects of heat and often, this is too late to stop them from becoming ill.
There are also guidelines to help the prevention of heat related illness occurring, but if you don’t know what specific task or when heat is affecting employees the most, how do you know what prevention techniques to implement?
There are many options of standard PPE to help keep people safe but standard PPE is for keeping people safer if an incident happens, whereas smart PPE can detect things so you can avoid them before they happen.
Heidi E. Lehmann Chief Commercial Officer and Co-founder of Kenzen, smart PPE physiological monitoring system, said in her interview with Professional Safety Journal, “What Kenzen does through the deployment of body worn sensors is physiological monitoring, which indicate small nuances within the individual physiology, is tell if a worker is about to experience some kind of an injury such as heat illness, fatigue or even fever.”
When asked about collecting data on an incident, Heidi explained, “We have an entire platform that is all about physiological monitoring. The front end of that platform is a patch worn on the upper arm. The data collection piece is sampling, through sensors, gathering about 1.3 million data points per day, per worker. Then it sends information to the workers phone and then to the cloud in 0.05 seconds.
“We then have machine learning and insights that are created within the cloud, and it delivers the information to the worker and the safety manager and then later for corporate EHS. The system can quickly gather data based on sensing the physiology or the environment or whatever the sensors are picking up and make that information an insight that someone can act on.”
There are three main factors driving smart PPE in workplaces, safety, productivity, and cost to the company.
Safety- The main reason for wanting to understand more about a person’s wellbeing is for their overall safety at work. We know so much about our own lives through smart phones, watches, glasses etc. why wouldn’t you have a specific device for workplace health. An employer has a duty of care and statutory obligation to keep an employee safe while at work.
Productivity- If a worker is healthier and feeling the best they can, after taking suitable breaks to rest and drink water, perform more effectively and potentially complete jobs faster. There is also less chance of having to carry our reworks on jobs due to error caused by heat related effects including drowsiness and lack of concentration.
Cost to the company- Helping to keep a worker fit and healthy reduces days off sick and in some extreme cases hospitalisation. Health- related costs endured through injury and illness at work can be significantly reduced.
Original interview by Professional Safety Journal