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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
Important Tips During 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!
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).