KENZEN Featured in Commercial Construction Rennovation

KENZEN Featured in Commercial Construction Rennovation

KENZEN BODY HEAT SENSOR FOR WORKER SAFETY

See the original article in CCR, here.

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 compliment, monitors multiple physiological and environmental metrics, including heart rate, activity, skin and ambient temperatures. Together, this sensor data allows 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 perquisite 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.

About Kenzen

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.

SHELTER-IN-PLACE ORDERS COULD LEAD TO MORE HEAT-RELATED DEATHS AT WORKSITES

SHELTER-IN-PLACE ORDERS COULD LEAD TO MORE HEAT-RELATED DEATHS AT WORKSITES

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?

7 Day Forecast in the 90s

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.

Oil field

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.

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References:

  • 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.

  • https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/27/meteorologists-say-2020-on-course-to-be-hottest-year-since-records-began

3 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WORK/REST SCHEDULES

3 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WORK/REST SCHEDULES

WORK/REST SCHEDULES CAN HELP PREVENT HEAT INJURY & ILLNESS ON HOT DAYS.

BUT THERE ARE 3 IMPORTANT THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE ADMINISTERING THESE SCHEDULES TO YOUR WORKFORCE.

Construction worksite

  1. These work/rest schedules are not “one size fits all.” What does this mean? Well that a work/rest schedule of 30 minutes working and 30 minutes resting on a really hot day is not going to prevent heat injury or illness in ALL people. The research backing these work/rest schedules has largely been based upon young, healthy men, which means that other populations (older individuals, women, diseased populations) might need very different work/rest schedules.

    “…existing guidelines adopted and recommended for use by government agencies worldwide (e.g., WHO, CDC, others) to protect the public and workers also assumes a “one size fits all” approach to protect human health. These guidelines generally prescribe protective measures (e.g., heat advisories, exposure limits) using models defined by the assessment of heat strain in young and or relatively healthy adults. They fail to consider key factors such as sex, age, health status, and other factors, which can markedly alter a person’s tolerance to heat, thereby leaving a large segment of the population under-protected…(1)

  2. Work/rest schedules vary depending on the organization or governing body that developed them. For example, OSHA & the US Army use a similar work/rest schedule, while the EPA & ISO standards have slightly different recommendations. That being said, it’s important to understand how these recommendations vary, but more importantly, what factors they consider in giving the work/rest schedules (e.g., wet bulb globe temperature-WBGT, temperature, humidity, clothing, sun exposure, wind speed, etc).
  3. One of the biggest problems with work/rest schedules (especially those using WBGT), is that they severely underestimate the heat strain experienced by workers when the evaporative capacity (of sweat) is limited—like in very humid environments or under heavy clothing layers— this means that more workers will be susceptible to heat injury & illness when using WBGT-based work/rest schedules under these conditions. (2)

Table of WBGT Categories

Example of U.S. Army work/rest schedules (3)

SO IN ADDITION TO IMPLEMENTING WORK/REST SCHEDULES,

MAKE SURE YOU’RE ALSO DOING THE FOLLOWING 5 THINGS TO PROTECT YOUR WORKERS:

  1. First and foremost, you can get your workers set up with smart PPE, like the Kenzen patch, that will monitor workers’ physiological data real-time and alert you (and the worker) when their core temperature is reaching unsafe levels, so that they can take a break. This is completely individualized, which solves the problem of work/rest schedules not protecting all populations.
  2. During the rest periods, let your workers actually rest. DO NOT assign any other work tasks while they’re resting- your workers need to cool down, and if they continue to work, their core temperature will keep going up. (3)
  3. Keep checking the weather (WBGT, temperature, and humidity) throughout the day— we recommend every 2 hours— and update the work/rest schedules accordingly if the criteria change.
  4. During rest breaks: provide workers with potable water and shade or air conditioning, and allow them to remove any extra clothing that might restricting evaporative heat loss (i.e., that keeps the sweat from evaporating off of their skin). (5)
  5. If you don’t have a way of monitoring each worker’s individual physiology, then make sure you are attentive to each individual and whether they might be presenting any signs or symptoms of heat injury or illness. Let the individual stop working and rest if they need to (even if the working time limit hasn’t yet been reached). (4,5)

    Lastly, remember: these work/rest schedules were created for young, healthy men, so you will need to pay special attention to how older adults, women, and those with diseases are responding to these schedules on a hot day because they might need a completely different program to stay safe in the heat.

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REFERENCES:

  1. Kenny, G.P., Notley, S.R., Flouris, A.D. and Grundstein, A., 2020. Climate Change and Heat Exposure: Impact on Health in Occupational and General Populations. In Exertional Heat Illness (pp. 225-261). Springer, Cham.
  2. Budd, G.M., 2008. Wet-bulb globe temperature (WBGT)—its history and its limitations. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport11(1), pp.20-32.
  3. Regulation, T.R.A.D.O.C., 2016. 350-29. Prevention of heat and cold casualties. Fort Eustis, VA: US Army Training and Doctrine Command, Publication TRADOC Regulation, pp.350-29.
  4. Coco, A., Jacklitsch, B., Williams, J., Kim, J.H., Musolin, K. and Turner, N., 2016. Criteria for a recommended standard: occupational exposure to heat and hot environments. control Ccfd, editor.
  5. https://www.osha.gov/heat/
THE #1 THING YOU SHOULD HAVE ON YOUR WORKSITE TO PREVENT HEAT-RELATED DEATHS

THE #1 THING YOU SHOULD HAVE ON YOUR WORKSITE TO PREVENT HEAT-RELATED DEATHS

Heat-related deaths are 100% preventable when using this inexpensive item.

Ambulance

What is this life-saving item?

It’s actually just a large tub filled with ice water.

If someone is properly cooled (in an ice bath) within 30 minutes after they collapse from heat exhaustion, their odds of survival are 100%.

Because of the large impact that ice water baths can have on survival, many athletic trainers, EMTs, and medics use the mantra “Cool first, transport second.” Meaning that the worker will have much better odds of survival if you cool them first (at your worksite) and then transport them to the hospital.

cooling ice bath

Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Jason Huddleston

SO WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO IMPLEMENT THIS COOLING TECHNIQUE?

You’ll need:

  1. A large tub, kiddie pool, or tarp— anything that can fit a person in it and withstand a large amount of ice water— will all work.
  2. Large coolers filled with ice each day & placed next to the tub.
  3. Large coolers filled with ice each day & placed next to the tub.

What to do when someone collapses in the heat:

  1. Immediately carry them to the tub and remove any extra clothing or equipment that might not allow them to cool down completely.
  2. Fill the water up to their chest and pour the ice in the tub. Ideally the water temperature is below 50°F (10°C).
  3. CALL 911
  4. Keep their head above water by placing a towel or sheet across the tub or across their chest to hold them against the back of the tub (see above picture for one way to do this).
  5. KEEP STIRRING OR CIRCULATING THE WATER VIGOROUSLY TO MAKE SURE COLD WATER IS CONTINUOUSLY SURROUNDING THE WORKER.
    Note: if you’re using a tarp, you will need to have several people (5-6) hold the edges of the tarp up so that the individual is submerged to their chest & the water/ice does not leak out. Essentially, you’re creating a hammock (see image below).

If you cannot measure the worker’s rectal temperature:

  1. Remove them from the ice bath after 10-15 minutes, and then cover them with a blanket to prevent an overshoot in body temperature (too cold).
  2. If you can measure the worker’s rectal temperature:

  3. Remove them from the ice bath when their core temperature is ~38.8°C (102°F), and then cover them with a blanket to prevent an overshoot in body temperature (too cold).
  4. After cooling is complete, transport the worker to emergency medical services; but do not do this until they have been properly cooled!

REMEMBER: YOU CAN SAVE YOUR WORKERS’ LIVES WITH AN ICE BATH-

SO BE PREPARED WITH THIS EQUIPMENT AT YOUR WORKSITE!

For more information on emergency cooling procedures, or to have Kenzen make your worksite heat-safe, see our Heat Safety Training Program.

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REFERENCE:

Lopez, RM. (2015) “Quick Questions in Heat-Related Illness and Hydration: Expert Advice in Sports Medicine.” Chapters 20-23. SLACK Incorporated. Thorofare, NJ.

HEAT ACCLIMATIZATION: WHAT IS IT AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?

HEAT ACCLIMATIZATION: WHAT IS IT AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Most heat-related deaths occur in the first few days on the job. Heat acclimatization can help prevent this.

A study of OSHA citations issued between 2012 and 2013 revealed 20 cases of heat-related illness or death of workers [Arbury et al. 2014]. In most of these cases, employers had no program to prevent heat illness, or programs were deficient; and acclimatization was the program element most commonly missing and most clearly associated with worker death.

How Do You Acclimatize to the Heat?

You might have already heard about heat acclimatization, but what is it and why does it actually make your job easier?

Heat acclimatization is a process where your body undergoes physiological changes that allow it better handle the heat— which means that your performance in the heat will improve and you are less likely to suffer from heat-related problems (e.g., heat cramps).

For heat acclimatization to occur, you typically have to increase your core body temperature by 1°C (~1.8°F) for at least 1 hour, repeatedly each day, for 5-14 days in a row (each person will take a different amount of time to acclimatize to the heat).

Physiological Changes that Occur with Heat Acclimatization

After your body is acclimatized to the heat, you will notice lots of different changes.

  1. Sweating: You will start to sweat sooner (at a lower core body temperature) and you will sweat more. This is important because it allows your body to cool off (through evaporative heat loss), which means that your body temperature will stay lower for the same work rate. (See a refresher on heat loss through sweating here). You may also notice that your sweat becomes less salty after you’ve been working in the heat for a while; this is because your body becomes more efficient at reabsorbing the salt in your sweat, which helps you stay better hydrated in the heat.
  2. Heart rate: Your heart rate at rest and during work (or exercise) will be lower after heat acclimatization. This is because you get an increase in plasma volume (the water in your blood) with heat acclimatization, which means that with each heart beat, you can now pump more blood (to get more oxygen to the working muscles). As a result, your heart rate will be lower for the same work rate. This means that you can work for longer in the heat without getting tired. (See a refresher here on heart rate changes with heat stress).
  3. Core and skin temperatures: Due to the improvements in your sweating (and improved ability to get rid of heat), your core and skin temperatures will be lower at rest and during work or exercise (for the same work rate). This, combined with a lower heart rate, means that after heat acclimatization, you can work harder for longer periods of time before needing to take a break because your body is staying cooler.

worker in hot field

Important Tips During Heat Acclimatization:

  • Make sure to drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after the heat acclimatization period (your first two weeks on the job), and replace the water that you’re losing through sweating. This is especially important for helping your body to increase its plasma volume.
  • During heat acclimatization, you can lightly salt your foods as well as drink fluids with more sodium to help you stay hydrated and maintain your body’s electrolyte balance.
  • You can monitor your heart rate at the same time each morning before work (by taking your pulse) during heat acclimatization. You should see a decrease in your resting heart rate over the course of 1-2 weeks, which will indicate that you have likely acclimatized to the heat.
  • You should acclimatize to the environment that you will be working in. The changes that your body makes to a hot, dry environment will be different than those of a hot, humid environment.
  • Be aware of any signs & symptoms of heat injury & illness, and do not push yourself too hard the first week that you are just starting to work in the heat. This process takes time for your body to adjust, and trying to go too hard too fast will only result in serious accidents.
  • If you work in an environment with heavy clothing or PPE, if possible, you should start by wearing the most minimal clothing layer possible on the first 1-2 days, and then slowly adding each additional clothing layer (every 1-2 days) to give your body time to adjust over the course of the 1-2 week heat acclimatization period. As a rule of thumb: you can wear full PPE from day 6 onwards.
  • Lastly, remember that to maintain your heat acclimatization, you’ll need to be exposed to the heat at least once every 5 days. (See here for more info on the decay of heat acclimatization).

Need help figuring all of this out for your workers & work-site? Kenzen can help with our site-specific evaluations, heat safety training, and individualized. recommendations

HEAT ACCLIMATIZATION IS THE BEST “PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT” OUT THERE (FOR WORK IN THE HEAT) BECAUSE IT IMPROVES YOUR PERFORMANCE AND KEEPS YOU SAFER— SO MAKE SURE THAT YOU (OR YOUR WORKERS) ARE HEAT ACCLIMATIZED!

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References:

Pryor, J. Luke, Christopher T. Minson, and Michael S. Ferrara. “Heat acclimation.” Sport and Physical Activity in the Heat. Springer, Cham, 2018. 33-58.

Coco, Aitor, Brenda Jacklitsch, Jon Williams, Jung-Hyun Kim, Kristin Musolin, and Nina Turner. “Criteria for a recommended standard: occupational exposure to heat and hot environments.” control Ccfd, editor (2016).