Perennially recognized as one of America’s safest builders, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. is partnering with Kenzen to pilot wearable heat monitoring technology on multiple construction projects. Kenzen’s smart PPE devices monitor the heat status of workers in hot and humid conditions, helping predict and prevent heat stress and illness. Together, the organizations will gain valuable insight into how the technology can minimize the risk of heat illness and protect the broader construction workforce.
“Safety is the most important thing we do every day, and on many projects that includes heat awareness and heat illness prevention,” said McCarthy Vice President National Safety Pat Devero. “The Kenzen system is already helping us identify new ways to prevent heat illness, assist in validating our current practices and heat illness expectations, and is a great example of how embracing technology can improve our industry’s approach to health and safety.”
The Kenzen devices worn by workers contain sensors that monitor, in real-time, an individual’s physiological markers that trigger heat injury risks. This includes a sweat rate monitoring feature that uses a worker’s information and physiological data to calculate and predict their sweat rate in liters per hour. Using a proprietary algorithm, the Kenzen device can alert workers of dangerous heat stress via a smart phone app. The data helps eliminate guesswork about how to keep workers safely hydrated and makes it possible for individual workers to know the specific amount of water they need to drink to stay safe.
On-site managers have access to alerts and corporate safety leaders use an analytics dashboard to monitor and evaluate risks to individuals and teams, helping them optimize worker safety. McCarthy will use the technology to identify broad trends that affect all projects and implement preventative measures to increase safety and productivity.
“The Kenzen pilot was a valuable program for our jobsite,” said Andrew Rhines, McCarthy Project Safety Coordinator in Texas. “It benefitted the craft professionals on our site and the data gathered by Kenzen helped verify many different aspects of our national heat illness prevention plans including water consumption and scheduled breaks.”
McCarthy and Kenzen are equally committed to protecting user data; the system does not reveal personal information or reasons why someone is in a particular heat risk category; it is only used to monitor and manage people according to their individual heat susceptibility.
McCarthy makes education about heat illness and injury prevention a priority during the spring and early summer as temperatures increase. The company shares educational information internally, hosts on-site educational and training sessions, and makes resources available for its workforce in-person and online. On projects in high heat areas, McCarthy provides hydration aids, shade stations, cooling fans and brimmed head protection to reduce heat. It’s also common for the projects to alter schedules, allowing the day’s work to be completed before the hottest portion of the day.
From 1992 through 2017, there were 70,000 serious injuries and 815 deaths caused by exposure to excessive heat, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of the 492 occupational fatalities attributed to exposure to environmental heat from 2003 to 2016, 179, or 36 percent, were in the construction industry.
“McCarthy is a leader in exploring all opportunities to keep employees safe,” said Heidi Lehmann, Kenzen co-founder and President. “With the Kenzen system, they can tailor their approach to individuals, teams, and projects because they have access to new, highly detailed information. This information helps manage risk, realize increased productivity, and meet every worker’s unique requirements for working safely.”
McCarthy has selected several pilot opportunities for the Kenzen system on jobsites in Arizona, Georgia and Texas. Employees using the system understand the protective value it offers and appreciate receiving notifications about their core body temperature, sweat rate, and hydration status – when they should stop and rest, and when it’s safe to return to work.
“The Kenzen system has been a successful initiative for our team and how we approach heat illness risk onsite,” said Sean Blakemore, McCarthy Project Safety Manager in Texas. “The entire Kenzen team is resourceful and is helping us maximize management of the program. The data we’re gathering is a significant benefit for us to not only verify and confirm our current approach, but it also helps everyone understand what drives the additional mitigation measures we take in order to send everyone home safely at the end of each day.”
McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. is the oldest privately held national construction company in the country – with more than 150 years spent collaborating with partners to solve complex building challenges on behalf of its clients. With an unrelenting focus on safety and a comprehensive quality program that span all phases of every project, McCarthy utilizes industry-leading design phase and construction techniques combined with value-add technology to maximize outcomes. Repeatedly honored as a Best Place to Work and Healthiest Employer, McCarthy is ranked the 13th largest domestic builder (Engineering News-Record, May 2021). With approximately 5,000 salaried employees and craft professionals, the firm has offices in St. Louis; Atlanta; Collinsville, Ill.; Kansas City, Kan.; Omaha, Neb.; Phoenix; Las Vegas; Denver; Dallas, Houston; and San Diego, Newport Beach, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento, Calif. McCarthy is 100 percent employee owned. More information about the company is available online at www.mccarthy.com or by following the company on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Startland News’ Startup Road Trip series explores innovative and uncommon ideas finding success in rural America and Midwestern startup hubs outside the Kansas City metro. This series is possible thanks to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which leads a collaborative, nationwide effort to identify and remove large and small barriers to new business creation.
Plug and Play Topeka is back, Lindsay Lebahn said, announcing the accelerator program’s second cohort of startups — including a surging Kansas City company — and revealing ways the effort has redefined the definition of entrepreneurship in the Sunflower State’s epicenter.
Lindsay Lebahn, Plug and Play Animal Health and AgTech Accelerator
“Realistic expectations of Topeka have changed,” explained Lebahn, program manager and a key player in bringing the San Francisco-based accelerator’s presence to Topeka two years ago.
“Topeka is really starting to believe in Topeka. … I think a lot of that [has to do with the] revitalization of downtown. We’ve had a lot of things happen throughout the years, but they would happen in pockets,” she continued, highlighting the efforts of GO Topeka to establish an innovation hub and center near and along Kansas Avenue — and a massive opportunity for connectivity in Shawnee County that comes with it.
“Things were happening, but not necessarily in a centralized location. Unless you lived in that area or visited that area, you didn’t really notice it and didn’t really feel it … but this revitalization of downtown has really helped the momentum of Topeka and I think Topekans are now starting to realize that there’s stuff to do here, there’s opportunities.”
Having successfully launched its first cohort virtually earlier this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Plug and Play welcomed 10 new startups into its animal health program last month. Among them, Kansas City-based Kenzen — a biometric platform and maker of a workplace safety, smart patch that monitors heat, fatigue and over exertion on the job.
Click here to learn more about Kenzen in a Startland News special report, broadcast in partnership with Bank of America.
Heidi Lehmann, president, CCO and co-founder of Kenzen, right, speaks with Channa Steinmetz, Startland News reporter, and Joshua Lewis, founder of UpDown Nightlife, during the 2021 VC-Backed Companies Special Report
Additional participants, chosen by founding partners of the Plug and Play Topeka program Cargill, Evergy, and Hills Pet Nutrition, include: Aegis Packaging, Singapore; Birdstop, San Francisco, California; ISO Thrive, Manassas, VA; Lumin, Charlottesville, Virginia; Maven, Portugal; Nanox, Newton, Massachusetts; Pepperai, New York, New York; Sniffypet; Calgary, Alberta; and Tarot Analytics, Paris, France.
“It’s more than just animal health,” Lebahn said of the cohort and the problems they’re working to solve.
“We’ve seen a lot more [companies tackling] sustainability [and] workforce issues with COVID changing everything. Our partners are really looking to make sure that they are doing everything they can for their company and to make sure that they’re the top of the line, they’ve got the newest, latest, greatest technology.”
Less than a month into the program, current cohort companies have already received interest from venture firms who’ve participated in the program — just one result of Plug and Play’s intentional, cross-vertical programming and events, which see frequent collaboration with its North Dakota-based agtech accelerator and its Silicon Valley-based food-focused program.
Nine nondisclosure agreements have been signed between startups and corporations involved in the first program, Lebahn added, indicating there’s power in the program and its setup.
Click here for a full description of each startup or here to learn more about the Plug and Play Topeka program and past participants.
This article showcases our top picks for the best Missouri based Big Data companies. These startups and companies are taking a variety of approaches to innovating the Big Data industry, but are all exceptional companies well worth a follow.
We tried to pick companies across the size spectrum from cutting edge startups to established brands.
We selected these startups and companies for exceptional performance in one of these categories:
KANSAS CITY, MO (Aug. 20, 2021) – Kenzen, the innovator of monitoring industrial workers’ core body temperatures to predict and prevent heat stress, has announced the results of its most recent research. New data collected from a recent study with three research universities to compare and validate Kenzen’s continuous core body temperature monitoring technology against existing methodologies, has now made the company’s dataset the largest one on continuous core body temperature monitoring in the world. It includes over 75 unique subjects monitored for >24 h, totaling >100,000 minutes of ground truth core temperature data (while wearing the Kenzen device).
The research-validated that the Kenzen wearable device algorithm can now accurately measure workers’ body temperature at rest and during physical activity, in cool, hot, and humid conditions. The research compared the Kenzen device against two current gold standards of measuring core body temperature: when an individual ingests a (gastrointestinal) pill and wears a device to track temperature and when a rectal thermometer is used.
These gold standard methods of measuring core body temperature are problematic for broad industrial use because they are highly invasive and/or expensive, and therefore not scalable. The Kenzen system also factors in biological sex, age, sweat rate, hydration, and heat susceptibility into its calculation of an individual worker’s heat risk, as each of these components play a role in the person’s ability to handle working in the heat. The research has concluded that the Kenzen system meets the industry-accepted standards for core temperature accuracy (i.e. mean absolute error ≤0.3°C) for core body temperatures ranging from 36 to 40°C and environmental conditions ranging from 13 to 43°C (55-109°F).
The research was conducted at three top universities for heat-stress physiology research, including University of Sydney (Australia) and Massey University (New Zealand).
“Many core temperature monitoring solutions fail at temperatures ≥38.5°C (101.3°F), but temperatures above this point are when heat-related injuries and illnesses occur. Using a highly accurate core temperature device is paramount to keeping workers safe,” said Dr. Nicole Moyen, vice president of research and development, Kenzen. “We also built the Kenzen algorithm for all workers – not just young, fit males – and wanted to ensure it would remain accurate for activities in a wide range of environmental conditions.”
“Luckily, there’s increasing awareness and urgency to address heat stress among workforces,” said Heidi Lehmann, Kenzen president and co-founder. Lehmann and her team are spending the summer deploying the system around the world, from solar sites in Florida to mines in Ontario, with fire fighters in Texas and utility workers in Kansas.
Recent studies on the effects of heat on industrial workers have been cited in congressional testimonies and in the New York Times. While only three U.S. states have industrial standards for working in the heat, OSHA recently released new guidance for protecting indoor workers.
Kenzen devices worn by workers contain sensors that monitor, in real-time, an individual’s physiological responses. The worker is warned, via a smart phone app and device vibration, when their core temperature is too high and they are in danger of a heat-related injury or illness. Managers have a corresponding app that alerts them when a worker needs an intervention to stop work, rest, and hydrate. Both workers and their managers also receive a second alert for when it’s safe to return to work based on their own physiological data. EHS leaders use the Kenzen analytics dashboard to make individual, team, or enterprise-wide decisions to minimize heat-related injuries and illnesses across their worksites by looking at aggregated data across weeks and months.
The Kenzen solution integrates the company’s commitment to data privacy; only workers can view the details of their personal health information, while safety managers and other EHS leaders only see what’s necessary to keep workers safe.
Kenzen has deployed its award-winning heat monitors with workforces across the globe in domains such as construction, mining, field services, manufacturing, renewable energy, utility oil and gas, ag, and transportation.
Founded in 2016, Kenzen is the premier physiological monitoring platform to keep workforces safe from heat, fatigue, and over exertion on the job while providing data driven insights to maintain productivity. For more information about heat stress and how to integrate the system into a safety plan, visit Kenzen.com.