by KENZEN | Mar 23, 2021 | Announcement, Data Modeling, Heat Injuries, heat stress, In The News, Press Release, Smart PPE, Wearable Tech, Worksite Safety
KENZEN LAUNCHES DATA DASHBOARD THAT ANALYZES SAFETY AND PRODUCTIVITY OF WORKERS IN HOT AND HUMID CONDITIONS
NEW YORK CITY (March 23, 2021) – Kenzen has launched a data and analytics dashboard, the latest component of its smart PPE connected worker solution. The dashboard captures workers’ core body temperature (the greatest predictor of heat stress and illness), productivity, and microclimates caused by clothing under hot and humid working conditions.
Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) managers and company leaders can now have a data-driven overview of work sites, both real time and retrospectively, to evaluate heat risk information by location and job role. The analysis consists of tens of thousands of data points collected per worker per day from the Kenzen wearable which tracks physiological factors including core temperature and heart rate. The Kenzen system uniquely enables companies to identify and address challenges and opportunities related to work in hot and humid conditions. The information allows them to manage risk and improve processes to keep workers safer and more productive.
Last year, Kenzen unveiled the monitoring device and its complimentary mobile app that alerts workers when they are at risk of heat stress and illness and when to stop work, rest, and return to work safely. The hardware and app work together to feed data to the real-time dashboard for supervisors to monitor their teams proactively and intervene when necessary.
Kenzen’s new analytics dashboard allows senior managers, who on average are responsible for 10 teams of 10 people each day, to dig deeper into the data and have a holistic view across worksites and teams. The dashboard provides insight into how various environments affect workers and uses the information to guide management in the implementation of changes to keep workers safer while optimizing productivity. Actionable feedback enables tailoring of work/rest schedules and identification of PPE clothing with the least impact on worker performance.
The complete Kenzen solution integrates the company’s commitment to personal data privacy; only workers can view the details of their personal health information and safety managers and other EHS leaders only see what’s necessary to keep the worker safe.
“The latest tool in the Kenzen connected worker solution comes just in time for a summer that’s expected to be one of the most extreme on record,” said Heidi Lehmann, Kenzen co-founder and chief commercial officer. Lehmann adds that, for every 10-degree Fahrenheit increase in temperature, there is a 393 percent increase in hospitalizations for heat exposure. “Now companies have the power to predict and prevent heat-related injuries and deaths and manage productivity at the same time.”
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.
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by Bitsy Foster | May 29, 2020 | Heat Injuries, heat stress
BUILDER contributor Nicole Moyen outlines the symptoms of two important heat-related injuries and how to detect and manage the risks on jobsites.
You can see the original article on Builder Online, here.
As we approach summer construction season, residential workers should re-educate themselves on heat-related injuries and illnesses that can happen to employees when working in warm conditions. Many workers and supervisors have experienced or witnessed changes in their physical abilities and limitations, caused by high-temperature environments. It’s important to understand what to look for and the differences between heat-related effects on the body, in order to detect and manage the health risks.
When your employees experience goosebumps or chills, light-headedness, nausea, and/or are feeling weak or more fatigued than usual, it’s likely they are experiencing heat exhaustion.
Heat exhaustion is typically the point where the cardiovascular system—the heart and blood vessels—can no longer support the work being done by the person. His/her heart rate will likely be higher when working in a hot (vs. a cool) environment. But heart rate can only increase so much, because the body only has a finite amount of blood that can be pumped by the heart to the working muscles for energy and to the skin to get rid of body heat. When this “maximum” point is reached in the cardiovascular system, a person feels symptoms of heat exhaustion: weakness, fatigue, faint/light-headedness, unusually hot skin, excessive sweat, and difficulty working or exercising.
Ideally, a worker has been trained to read the signals of their body when these symptoms occur, and knows the importance of stopping work to cool off and drink water to allow body temperature to come back down to normal. However, many workers may push through these feelings in order to stay productive and keep the job moving. This is the time when a supervisor must intervene to prevent heat-related injury or even a worker fatality.
An intervention means work stops immediately, and the worker is directed to a shady or air-conditioned shelter. Removing any extra clothing will allow the employee to cool down faster, and if the person is feeling dizzy or light-headed/faint you can elevate their feet to help return blood to the brain and heart. Use ice-cold towels placed on the body to cool it down, and encourage the worker to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, to boost hydration to a healthy level.
With these remedies, the worker should start to feel better within 10 to 15 minutes, and can safely return to work. However, it’s important to ease back into work gradually so as not to immediately disturb the care that’s just been given to the body. Make sure the affected employee slows down his/her work pace and takes extra breaks during the work day, even if they aren’t brought on by heat-related symptoms. This will help the person avoid another episode of heat exhaustion or other heat-related injuries.
Exertional Heat Stroke
Exertional heat stroke (EHS) is different from heat exhaustion. EHS should be considered a serious medical emergency. As such, if not treated properly, EHS can result in death. The good news is, if you understand EHS and take the proper prevention and monitoring steps, EHS is preventable.It is important to remember that heat exhaustion does not precede EHS. That means that heat exhaustion and EHS are two separate things: someone doesn’t necessarily need to experience heat exhaustion before getting EHS. Often, EHS can come about very suddenly, without any signs or symptoms. Exertional heat stroke is diagnosed when:
- The worker’s core body temperature is greater than 104°F or 40°C. The only real way to differentiate between heat exhaustion and EHS is to measure core body temperature with a rectal or esophageal probe.
- The worker’s central nervous system is experiencing dysfunction. When this happens, the person may be hallucinating, experiencing behavior changes such as aggressiveness, irritability, confusion, and/or irrational behavior. They may also feel weak or unable to continue working. The person may even collapse on the job or faint.
- The worker may also experience vomiting, hot and sweaty skin, and fatigue, which are the symptoms of heat exhaustion, but the additional behavior changes noted above are the key clues that the person needs emergency cooling of the body, plus additional medical attention.
Preventing Heat Exhaustion and EHS
Now that you understand the two most common heat ailments that can happen on the job, it’s time to take stock of how you are preventing and managing them to keep your team safe from heat’s harm.
- Encourage workers to use a buddy system while on the job. Buddies take on the responsibility of checking on specific co-workers’ well-being. Most teams already have informal buddy relationships that have formed, so it’s easiest to simply ask them to add this more formal “check up” to their existing collaboration. Buddies should talk to each other several times during the work day—not just while on break together. If one person notices something strange or out of character with the other, the observer should alert supervisors and immediately get the person to an emergency cooling station on-site.
- Educate workers on the signs and symptoms of heat stress. Encourage them to pay attention to their own symptoms and what their body may be telling them. Let employees know it is dangerous to “push through” the situation by being “tough” under extreme circumstances. It’s not productive to the job. Heat stress actually slows the work pace and increases errors. In the end, a worker that passes out or must go to the hospital isn’t useful to himself/herself or the employer. Working safely is the ultimate goal, not speed or competition, or testing the limits of the human body.
- Honor and recognize when a worker is vocal about symptoms. Take all comments about changes in the body seriously and let them take a break, find a cooler place, and drink water to recover before it’s too late.
- Investigate additional equipment that can be used on site, such as smart personal protection equipment (PPE) that monitors and measures body indicators such as core body temperature, and sends a signal to both the worker and the supervisor that a safe heat threshold has been crossed, and a break and/or treatment are necessary.
Treating Heat Exhaustion and EHS
The symptoms detailed above are cues for both the worker and the supervisor to stop the individual from working, get them to shade or air conditioning to rest, and encourage them to drink fluids. It is also important to check on the person every five minutes to make sure they are recovering and feeling better. If, after 10 to 15 minutes, their symptoms have subsided, they may return to work. If not, continue treatment to eliminate the symptoms or seek professional medical attention for the worker if symptoms don’t subside.
If symptoms of EHS are present, immediately call on medical professionals by dialing 911. While waiting for EMTs to arrive, help the worker cool down as quickly as possible. Ideally, there will be ice bath supplies on-site to quickly cool the worker. Ice baths are the most effective way to treat EHS. If not, rotate cold compresses around the body to help cool the worker down. The most important thing to remember is to not leave the worker’s side while recovery begins and before help arrives.
Heat-related worker injuries are on the rise. If you haven’t paid close attention to the nuances of the signs and symptoms of heat injuries and illnesses, along with the ways to treat affected employees, you are putting everyone at risk. Be knowledgeable and proactive to keep your teams safe while getting the job done, especially during the high heat of the summer.
by Bitsy Foster | May 13, 2020 | Smart PPE
2020 is projected to be one of the hottest years on record,
which might be OK if you have air conditioning and work indoors.
But it could be hazardous if you work in the heat & have been sheltering-in-place. We tell you why.
At Kenzen, we believe that the hottest year on record combined with the COVID-19 pandemic will lead to even more heat-related deaths at worksites if employers don’t take the proper precautions.
Employers should not only be screening their workers for COVID-19 related symptoms, but be monitoring them for signs & symptoms of heat injuries & illnesses while at work. Why, you might ask?
With shelter-in-place orders across much of the globe, many people who work manual labor jobs are forced to stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19.
This means that many workers are likely spending most of their days in air-conditioned homes instead of working outside (as normal). This is problematic because research shows that those accustomed to air-conditioned homes are less tolerant of the heat.
Most heat-related deaths occur in the first few days of working on a job site in the heat. And one of the best ways to mitigate heat-related injuries & illnesses is to acclimatize to the heat. Many workers naturally acclimatize to the heat during the early summer (e.g. May & June) when temperatures start to increase, however, with shelter-in-place orders around the globe, this acclimatization period could be erased.
Instead, workers that have been sheltering-in-place during the early summer will likely be asked to go back to work in mid-July or August, in the dead-heat of the summer when they haven’t had a chance to acclimatize. On top of that, they will be asked to make up for “lost time” on the worksite. This means that not only will workers be asked to work harder when returning to the site, but they likely won’t be given the necessary time (~2 weeks) to acclimatize to the heat.
This is a recipe for disaster, that will likely lead to an increase in the number of heat-related deaths, injuries, and illnesses.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PROTECT YOUR WORKERS?
Gradually ramp up their workloads each day & the amount of PPE that they’re wearing
Provide cooling stations & plenty of breaks in the first few days
Monitor your workers for signs & symptoms of heat-related injuries & illnesses during their first week back on the job site. The use of physiological monitoring of each individual can help to know when workers are getting too hot & need to take a break.
Let Kenzen help you in these crazy times. With our individualized physiological monitoring device, we make it so that you have one less thing to worry about and you can just focus on the task at hand.
Most importantly, we at Kenzen hope that you all stay safe, stay healthy, and stay cool.
Williams, Augusta A., et al. “Building Vulnerability in a Changing Climate: Indoor Temperature Exposures and Health Outcomes in Older Adults Living in Public Housing during an Extreme Heat Event in Cambridge, MA.” International journal of environmental research and public health 16.13 (2019): 2373.
Bain, Anthony R., and Ollie Jay. “Does summer in a humid continental climate elicit an acclimatization of human thermoregulatory responses?.” European journal of applied physiology 111.6 (2011): 1197-1205.
by Heidi Lehmann | May 7, 2020 | Announcement, Smart PPE
Smart PPE patch monitors and relays real-time stress indicators to protect workers against heat injuries and death
May 7, 2020 (NEW YORK) – Kenzen, the smart PPE innovator focused on physiological monitoring and the prevention of heat injury and death among workers, has launched a real-time worker heat monitoring system. The Cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) system includes a wearable device worn by workers on their arm which alerts both the worker and their supervisor when core body temperature is too high. Real-time alerts allow for immediate intervention and worker safety from heat injuries.
The wearable, via its advanced sensor complement, monitors multiple physiological and environmental metrics, including heart rate, activity, skin and ambient temperatures. Together, these sensor data allow for the real-time prediction of core body temperature, providing alerts to workers and supervisors when temperatures approach unsafe levels.
Kenzen’s multi-level alerts are sent to workers via device vibration, iOS or Android app notification, and to supervisors via web dashboard alert signaling that the worker should take a break and allow his/her temperature to return to safe levels. Alerts are accompanied by actionable recommendations such as advising the worker to take a break, find shade, drink water, or remove any excess clothing and equipment to decrease body heat. A second “back to work” alert then indicates when the worker’s core body temperature has returned to a safe level.
Data captured by the system can be used to help companies identify heat risk and proactively manage outcomes by adapting worksites accordingly to improve worker safety while maximizing productivity. Modifications may include changes to work-rest schedules, where and when to add water and shade stations, the addition of air-conditioned rest areas and even recommendations for pre-staging ice-bath locations in case of extreme weather and working conditions. The data can also inform decisions around workplace expenditures such as certain equipment and clothing.
“The Kenzen system is all about prediction and prevention. Heat related injuries are 100% preventable but potentially deadly and difficult to detect until it’s too late,” said Heidi Lehmann, chief commercialization officer for Kenzen.
The Kenzen system has been piloted on worksites of large industrial conglomerates across the globe in domains such as construction, field services, power, oil and gas, and renewable energy. In the future, open APIs will allow integration into large connected-worker platforms. Kenzen also expects to receive Intrinsic Safety (IS) certification for use of its system, a prerequisite for use in many oil and gas, mining and other enclosed environments later this year. Once approved the system would be among the first smart PPE products to receive Zone 0 IS certification, which authorizes safe operation of electrical equipment in hazardous areas where any thermal or electrical malfunction is catastrophic.
Kenzen is sold as a subscription on a per-worker, per-month basis.
Founded in 2014, Kenzen is the premier physiological monitoring platform to keep work forces safe from heat, fatigue and over exertion on the job. For more information about heat stress and how to integrate the system into your safety plan, visit Kenzen.com.
by Bitsy Foster | Apr 22, 2020 | Heat Injuries
There are many factors that can increase your susceptibility for heat-related injuries and illnesses. Some of these factors you might have control over, while others you might not.
NATURAL FACTORS THAT CAN MAKE YOU MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO HEAT-RELATED INJURIES & ILLNESSES:
Age. After age 35 your body’s ability to dissipate heat (primarily through sweating) will decline. As a result, older adults tend to have higher core body temperatures than younger adults, when working at the same rate in the heat. This difference between older and younger individuals can be minimized with heat acclimatization and endurance training.
Genetics. Some people are able to acclimatize faster and tolerate the heat better than others; some of this appears to be attributable to genetic makeup. However, heat acclimatization can help level the playing field.
Diseases. Various skin disorders (e.g., psoriasis), cardiovascular diseases (e.g., hypertension), sweat gland disorders (e.g., Type I and Type II diabetes), and metabolic disorders can impair your body’s ability to effectively thermoregulate. This means that your core body temperature will be higher for the same workload, which puts you at increased risk for heat-related injuries & illnesses.
EXTERNAL SUBSTANCES THAT CAN MAKE YOU MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO HEAT-RELATED INJURIES & ILLNESSES:
Drugs that affect your nervous system (e.g., antidepressants, sympathomimetics, anticholinergics, & antipsychotics). These drugs have been shown to impair your sweat gland function & increase your heat production, meaning that if you’re regularly taking these drugs, you’ll likely have a higher core body temperature for the same work rate than someone who is not taking these medications.
Antihistamines (e.g., allergy medications). These drugs can impair your sweat gland function making it harder for you to get rid of heat as readily, which can lead to an increased core body temperature.
Drugs that affect your cardiovascular system (e.g., beta blockers & calcium channel blockers). These drugs work to lower your heart rate. This is a problem when working in the heat because you need a higher heart rate to be able to pump blood to the skin (to get rid of heat) and the working muscles (for energy). As a result of the lower heart rate induced by these drugs, you might heat up faster and find it harder to maintain a high work rate in the heat.
Diuretics. These drugs make it difficult for you to stay hydrated, which means that in the heat, your body will be working extra hard to keep you cool. Remember that dehydration exacerbates the effects of heat stress.
THINGS YOU CAN CONTROL IN ORDER TO MINIMIZE YOUR RISK FOR HEAT-RELATED INJURIES & ILLNESSES:
Fitness. Making sure that you are healthy and staying fit can help you better handle the heat. A lot of the same adaptations you get with heat acclimatization (e.g., higher sweat rate and lower core body temperature) can also be obtained by doing endurance training in cool environments.
Acclimatization. Heat acclimatization is the best way to minimize your risk for heat-related injuries and illnesses. In general, it takes about 2 weeks to acclimatize to the heat; and once acclimatized, you need to be exposed to the heat at least every 3-4 days to maintain those adaptations. See here for how to do this.
Hydration. Since dehydration can exacerbate the effects of heat stress, it is important to stay hydrated. See our blog post on how to stay hydrated throughout the work day.
Listen to your body. If you start to experience any signs or symptoms of heat injuries or illnesses, take a break. Find shade, rest, and drink some water. Remove extra clothing if possible to help cool you off. Always listen to your body, and stop before it’s too late.
Sleep. More research is needed to determine the exact impacts of sleep on thermoregulation. However, if you know that you’re someone who doesn’t do well with minimal sleep, make sure you’re getting enough rest before spending a long day working in the heat.
Avoid drug use. Not only can recreational drugs (e.g., alcohol, ephedrine, cocaine, ecstasy) change your heart rate and blood pressure, they can also alter your body’s ability to get rid of heat (via increased blood flow to the skin and sweating). These drugs will quickly increase your risk for heat injury and illness, not to mention impair your abilities to successfully complete your job.
Now that you know all of the things that can harm and help you in the heat, it’s time to put that knowledge into action! Kenzen can help with our Heat Safety Training Program.
Pryor, J. Luke, Julien D. Périard, and Riana R. Pryor. “Predisposing Factors for Exertional Heat Illness.” Exertional Heat Illness. Springer, Cham, 2020. 29-57.