Occupational health and safety in heat without sweating by means of cooling textiles such as cooling vest and cool shirt
Heat and occupational H&S are often hard to combine. Clothing soaked by sweat, exhausted staff – workplace safety decreases drastically. Personal protection equipment (PPE) often provides heat protection but leads to more exhaustion and results in loss of performance and health problems.
According to BAuA (Federal Institute for Occupational Safety & Health) more than 3.5 millions of employees are affected by heat at the workplace in Germany in summer. The Kiel Institute for the World Economy determined that productivity decreased by 12% on hot days.
By an online survey carried out with 88 companies in Germany, a bachelor’s thesis of 2014 analyzed heat at the workplace and its effects on workers and companies.
Ask for the heat analysis of 2014 ...HERE...
Almost 50% of the companies believed that up to 10% of their staff was affected by heat. In 16% of the companies, more than 30% of the staff was affected. As mainly elder employees succumb to high temperatures and the average age of workforce in companies increases year by year, it is evident that the impacts of heat to the attractiveness of Germany as business location are also significant. Downtimes and sick rate increase more and more.
In 43% of the companies, there exist workplaces that are warmer than 26°C all over the year. 56% of the companies operate workplaces over 26°C in summer. More than 75% of the companies have workplaces hotter than 37°C. These places are officially classified as hot workplaces and therefore have to comply with regulative H&S requirements.
When asked whether employees suffer from high temperatures at the workplace, 94% of the companies reported that stress for their staff increased in heat.
75% of the companies interviewed believed that the sick rate was elevated when temperatures rise. Apart from health problems of workers, this evidently led to higher downtimes which again resulted in less productivity for the companies.
96% of the interviewees held that concentration and performance was decreased at hot temperatures.This also reduces the companies’ productivity.
A relatively new aspect of the debate is aggressivity. The debate is additionally fed by studies of Solomon Hsiang of Berkely University. In 2009 already, Wuppertal University found out that aggressivity increased in heat. This aspect is supposed to be reflected in the working atmosphere and shop morale.
Therefore, the question whether the working atmosphere deteriorated in heat or whether conflicts or aggressivity increased in heat was integrated in the analysis. Although this aspect is relatively new, more than 50% (56%) of the companies interviewed confirmed the question.
Workplaces with temperatures exceeding 26°C or even 37°C are to be found in many areas, however mainly in the production of steel and plastics.
E.COOLINE has already been successfully tested in most of these areas: automotive industry, foundries, still mills, glass industry or on construction sites.
In many cases, E.COOLINE succeeded to keep the body temperature at the normal physiological level of 28-32°C. Compared to no cooling, the temperature could be decreased by 6°C.
The worker with cooling on head and upper body achieved temperatures as low as in normal ambient temperatures. For the same worker without cooling the analysis determined +6.6°C. Thus, the temperature measured significantly exceeds the maximum value for H&S and the worker suffers from heat stress.
Permanent heat stress may lead to health problems and result in reduced productivity.
The "THERMOMAN*"study conducted by the Swiss Research Institute Empa - Materials Science and Technology in St. Gallen confirmed the efficiency of E.COOLINE. The parts of the body protected by the high-tech material showed a lower temperature rise than those not protected by the new high-tech fleece. Cf. Empa study report n° 204'959 dated February 2, 2006
A thermo kinetics laboratory study carried out in-vitro of the high-tech material determined a temperature reduction by 6°C from 24°C to 18°C. With outside temperatures of 30°C, the temperature on the high-tech material was determined at cool 16°C for more than 20 hours.
The quantity of water evaporated in the 3D structure of the E.COOLINE material is, per time unit, higher at elevated temperatures and thus produces a greater cooling effect through higher energy consumption. Cooling at lower temperatures is also lower because less water is evaporated per time unit.
Thus, E.COOLINE reacts similar as an automatic air conditioning system. At high temperatures more cooling energy is released.