A PPE company has launched a high-tech real-time worker heat-monitoring system.
Kenzen's Cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) system includes a wearable device worn by workers on their arm that 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.
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.
Tech data helps manage sites
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 system is all about prediction and prevention," said Heidi Lehmann, chief commercialization officer for Kenzen. "Heat-related injuries are 100 percent preventable but potentially deadly and difficult to detect until it’s too late.”
The company's 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.
Open APIs will integrate the tech
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 sells the system as a subscription on a per-worker, per-month basis.
Heatstroke symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic, include a high body temperature (a core body temperature of 104 F or higher, obtained with a rectal thermometer is the main sign of heat stroke), altered mental state or behavior, alteration in sweating, nausea and vomiting, flushed skin, rapid breathing, racing heart rate, and headache.