Anti-heat stress clothing for construction workers in hot and humid weather

Ping Chuen Chan, K.W. Wong, Y. Li, D.P. Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

Abstract

Summer in Hong Kong is hot and humid. With prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, construction workers who need to undertake physically demanding work are vulnerable to heat stress. Although construction workers are recommended to wear thin, light, and breathable clothing while working in hot weather, specific guidelines that enable practitioners to wear appropriate summer work uniform remain lacking. Solid evidence regarding the benefits of wearing such uniforms is also scant. To bridge these gaps, this research aimed to develop an antiheat stress uniform to protect workers from extreme heat and high humidity. Fabric selection, clothing design, and performance assessment were employed through a scientific approach. The uniform was designed and produced with superior heat-moisture performance of fabrics, smart design and industry specific requirements in mind. With higher one-way transferability and liquid moisture management capacity, the new generation of moisture-management textiles improves fabric breathability, speeds up sweat evaporation and helps to reduce heat stress. Validity tests were conducted on the properties of the newly designed uniform inside a climatic chamber. The results showed a remarkable reduction of physiological strain by 16.7% and body heat storage by 28.8% over conventional work-wear, with wearers having lower core and skin temperatures and better physiological strain indices. The field studies were administered to evaluate the acceptability of the new uniform. The findings indicated that over 87% of the workers preferred to wear the anti-heat stress uniform that kept them cool, dry, and comfortable without impeding work performance. The well-being of construction workers with the new uniform is enhanced because the uniform exhibits excellent capacity in alleviating body heat strain and improving wearing comfort. The design of the new uniform may contribute to delivering an industry standard of heat stress controlling measure that has been adopted by the Construction Industry Council.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-29
Number of pages12
JournalInnovation in construction
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Thermal-moisture performance
  • Smart design
  • Human wear trial
  • Climatic chamber
  • Field survey

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