Evaluating the physiological and perceptual responses of wearing a newly designed cooling vest for construction workers

Yijie Zhao, Wen Yi, Ping Chuen Chan, Francis K.W. Wong, Chi Ho Michael Yam

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Occupational Hygiene Society. Construction workers are subjected to heat stress because of the hot environment, physically demanding tasks, and/or personal protective equipment. A tailor-made cooling vest that protects construction workers from heat-related injuries was developed. The purpose of the study is to examine a newly designed cooling vest's effectiveness in alleviating physiological and perceptual strain in a hot and humid environment. Twelve male participants performed two trials, i.e., cooling vest (VEST) and control (CON) in a climatic chamber controlled at 37°C temperature, 60% relative humidity, 0.3 m/s air velocity, and 450 W/m2 solar radiation to simulate the summer working environment of construction sites. Two bouts of treadmill exercise intermitted with 30-minute passive recovery were designed to simulate the practical work-rest schedule of the construction industry. The cooling vest was used during the passive recovery period in the VEST condition, and the results were compared with that of no cooling vest in the CON condition. The results revealed that the newly designed cooling vest can significantly alleviate heat strain and improve thermal comfort, based on the decrease in body temperature, heart rate, and subjective perceptions (including perceived exertion, thermal, wetness, and comfort sensation) of the participants. It can also prolong work duration in the subsequent exercise. The cooling countermeasures proposed in this study will be able to provide an effective solution in situations that involve repeated bouts of outdoor construction work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-901
Number of pages19
JournalAnnals of Work Exposures and Health
Volume61
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

Keywords

  • Construction worker
  • Cooling vest
  • Heat strain
  • Hot and humid environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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