Evaluating the effectiveness and practicality of a cooling vest across four industries in Hong Kong

Albert P.C. Chan, Wen Yi, Francis K.W. Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Extreme hot environments are prevalent in many occupational settings, and facilities management workers are no exception. Wearing suitable cooling garment is a useful means to alleviate heat strain and improving performance at heat exposure. This paper aims to evaluate the effectiveness and applicability of the cooling vest across four selected fields (i.e. construction, outdoor cleaning and horticulture, kitchen work and work involved manual handling at the airport) and identify the shortcomings of the cooling vest used by the participating workers. Design/methodology/approach: This study adopted a two-phase design: a quantitative questionnaire survey followed by qualitative in-depth interviews. Findings: A remarkable physical strain alleviation (PSA) of 21.1 per cent (14.8 per cent in construction, 18.8 per cent in horticulture and cleaning, 27.4 per cent in kitchen and catering and 26.5 per cent in airport apron service) is achieved by the use of cooling vest in four industries. Despite the success of PSA, several shortcomings of the cooling vest were identified: easily stained color, heavy weight, short cooling time, inflexibility that presents a hazard around moving equipment, lack of industry-specific design, nondurable and thick fabric with poor permeability. Originality/value: The findings of the current study do not only confirm the effectiveness of the cooling vest in alleviating heat strain and physical strain but also identify the major shortcomings upon which further improvements can be made.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-534
Number of pages24
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2016


  • Environmental psychology
  • Ergonomics
  • Facilities
  • Facilities management
  • Health and safety
  • Workers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction


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