Towards creating intelligent heat stress monitoring and management solutions to safeguard health and wellness

The scientific challenge for this research project is to advance our understanding of the impacts of heat stress in heat vulnerable workers and to use this information towards the creation of intelligent heat stress monitoring and management solutions to safeguard health and wellness. Currently, our understanding of the effects of heat exposure on vulnerable individuals remains incomplete, limiting our ability to implement protective measures to optimize performance/safety during work in hot environments. Our work employing the world’s only air calorimeter (device to measure precisely whole-body heat loss) shows that government-recommended heat exposure guidelines fail to protect workers, especially older adults, against dangerous increases in core temperature during work in the heat. This is because they do not consider factors like age, chronic disease and others that can affect heat dissipation. Moreover, they do not account for factors that modify a person’s day-to-day tolerance to heat (exposure time, hydration, others). Thus, this project aims to develop thresholds for ‘high-risk’ work conditions based on ambient temperature, work intensity and duration, and biometric data which will be integrated into a first-generation ‘heat’ app and lead to the creation of a physiological monitoring system for the assessment of heat strain in heat vulnerable workers.

Intern: 
Martin Poirier
Faculty Supervisor: 
Glen Kenny
Province: 
Ontario
Partner University: 
Discipline: 
Program: