Specialists for cooling support workers in PPE
As long as PPE with sufficient cooling and safety are not available in the required quantities, cooling the workers is a complex task without a simple solution.
Employ specialists who monitor the thermal situation, help in improving the environment to provide better cooling and consult the worker on possible ways to keep cool.
There have been many proposals to cool health care workers in a PPE in this challenge. There are pros and cons for each of them. But by combining them in a suitable way, the heat related problems could at least be significantly reduced.
We are used to care for the right amount of clothing ourself. But work in a PPE in hot climate is difficult. The work is emotionally demanding and a typical healt care worker is no specialist in internal heat production, heat resistance, heating by radiation and so on. And often he will have not much time to think about He will rather be concerned with the fate of his patients and to make no error when doffing the PPE.
So I propose that specialists are sent to the area that care especially for the thermal situation of the health care workers. They would probably do the following work:
- Analyse the environment for air temperature, radiation temperature and wind velocity.
- Analyse the amount of physical activity and find ways to reduce this activity, thereby minimizing internal heat production.
- Analyze the clothing weared under the PPE and assess whether this fits to the actual climate in the shift the health worker has to work.
- Assess and consults the use of cooling techniques, like cooling vests.
- Exchange know-how reagarding cooling in a PPE
- Do experiments in clima chambers to assess the effectiveness of cooling techniques
- Asses and consult the use of external cooling facilities. Consult workers on how to use them
- Monitors the thermal stress of workers in a PPE as soon as this is available. a) for gaining more data b) to decide that a worker should cool down or finish work
- Monitor the actual weather situation to be able to inform workers when they should be careful (for instance because temperature or humidity is higher than normal)
- Collect experiences by workers to make them available to others
- Observe individual differences bewtween workers regarding heat resistance. He may thereby prevent accidents due to unexpected heat stress.