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Smart PPE now able to track ag worker’s heat susceptibility

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Anyone who works outside for a living knows the importance of staying hydrated during the hot summer months. However, even when we know all the helpful tips and tricks to staying healthy, sometimes the summer heat gets to be too much. In an industry surrounded by technology, the agriculture industry can increase its safety options for its workers with new smart PPE technology.

Kenzen has added two important features to its smart PPE system for monitoring workers’ heat risk on the job. Now, Kenzen technology can track the heat susceptibility and sweat rate of individuals — key indicators in the detection and prevention of heat-related stress, injury, and fatality risk of workers in hot environments.

The Kenzen system calculates heat susceptibility of a worker and then classifies them into low, moderate, or high heat-risk categories. Kenzen’s proprietary algorithm determines the person’s heat risk category by evaluating their medical or physical conditions, physical fitness, heat- acclimatization status, history of heat injury and illness, medications, chronic illnesses, and age. The classification does not reveal personal information or reasons why someone is in a particular heat risk category; it is only used to help supervisors monitor and manage people according to their individual heat susceptibility.

Kenzen also has a new sweat rate monitoring feature that uses a worker’s information and physiological data to calculate and predict their sweat rate, in liters per hour. A manager can view an individual’s sweat rate on the Kenzen analytics dashboard, which also indicates how much water that person needs to drink each hour to stay hydrated. The data eliminates the guesswork in how to keep workers safely hydrated and makes the Kenzen system an even more valuable planning tool.

With this new tool, managers can bring enough water to the worksite to hydrate their teams sufficiently based on each individual’s sweat rate and the predicted environmental conditions that day. Kenzen’s proprietary sweat rate feature gives a hydration plan that is accurate within one cup of water, so that every worker will know the specific amount of water they need to drink that day to stay safe.

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to hydration, which is why it’s important to use each person’s sweat rate for an individualized hydration plan,” said Moyen. “Dehydration is a major problem on worksites and increases the chances of someone getting a heat injury or illness, having an accident at the worksite, or suffering from cognitive impairment. Staying hydrated is a simple fix to avoid most of these problems.”

Kenzen devices worn by workers contain sensors that monitor, in real-time, an individual’s physiological responses. The worker is warned when their core temperature is too high and they are in danger of a heat-related injury or illness via a smart phone app and a device vibration. Managers have a corresponding app that alerts them when a worker needs an intervention to stop work, rest, and hydrate, and a second alert for when it’s safe to return to work. 

The technology would be helpful in industries such as construction, mining, field services, manufacturing, renewable energy, utility oil and gas, agriculture, and transportation.

This summer, Kenzen has a rental program for companies to quickly deploy the technology with packages of 10, 20, and 50 devices. The program includes the monitoring app for managers and can be rented for a two-month period online at store.kenzen.com , where training videos provide instructions for use and deployment.

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