EGA tests wearables to detect heat-related illness among industry workers

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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Emirates Global Aluminum (EGA) has been testing wearable technology in its annual program to prevent heat-related illness amongst industrial workers in the hot UAE summer.

This year, 50 volunteers working in EGA’s potlines, which are amongst the hottest parts of the company’s operations, are wearing devices to monitor critical health indicators, including core body temperature, heart rate, and sweating rate. Data is transmitted in real-time to supervisors and EGA’s occupational health team, with alerts to variations of potential concern.

The new wearable technology is expected to further improve the timely detection of the earliest signs of heat-related illness and speed intervention.

Abdulnasser bin Kalban
Abdulnasser bin Kalban

“We have focused on preventing heat-related illness each summer for many years. Through the commitment of all our people to this important effort, we have significantly reduced the incidence and severity of heat-related illness at EGA, and in 2020 we achieved zero cases. Wearable technology offers the prospect of zero cases every summer, and I am optimistic about this trial. While heat-related illness is a particular challenge working with industrial processes that generate heat, it is a hazard for people working outside across our country. I am looking forward to sharing the results of this trial widely and other lessons we have learned to the benefit of everyone contributing to the wellbeing of our society through outdoor work.”

EGA’s “Beat the Heat” program is an intense, annual summer-long effort across operations, which starts with awareness programs to build knowledge of heat-related illness and its early signs for individuals and those around them.

Employees undertake hydration tests before and during shifts, in addition to being required to take regular breaks and being given access to cooling showers. Cooling booths, drinking stations, icemakers, and portable air conditioning units in EGA’s operational areas help employees keep cool. UV protection and heat rash prevention cream are also available to help keep people comfortable, in addition to reusable water bottles and access to electrolyte drinks.

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