Hot at work: how to cope with hot working environments

Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk


STATE-OF-THE-ARTAND IMPACT Changes in core temperaturerepresent the rate of change inbody heat storage, which in turnreflects the balance betweenmetabolic heat production, heatabsorbed from the environmentand total body heat loss. Forexample, work by Nielsen in1996 provided data to suggestan endurance athlete mayexperience up to a 1°C rise incore temperature every nineminutes when racing in highambient conditions. This rate ofrise in core temperature wouldresult in a runner reachinga core temperature of 40°Cwithin 25–30 minutes, with theimmediate dangers of heatexhaustion. Overheating is nota problem confined to athletesonly, but it also affects a rangeof occupational activities thaturgently require novel solutions. PROJECT AND EXPERTISE Our internationally renownedresearch addresses the challengesof environmental extremes onhuman function. We developand evaluate interventions andproducts using basic and appliedscientific methodologies thatalleviate environmental stress andinfluence health, occupationalactivity and human performancepractice and policy at a local,national and international level.Our Environmental ExtremesLab comprise a dynamic team ofresearch-active individuals whobring an applied, solution-basedapproach to the challenge ofliving, working and exercisingin environmental extremes.Individuals with and withoutdisease engaging with physicalactivity have been informed howto embark in safe and effectiveexercise and reduce risk ofillness. Occupationally, we haveinformed National Fire ServiceGuidelines to improve health ofstaff exposed to severe heat. Ourproduct testing with BodychillzLtd. developed the CAERvest®that has saved lives and we havesupported other companies fromproof-of-concept stage throughto prototype evaluation. Researchfunding has come from charities,industry, UK central governmentagencies and national governingbodies. We have more than 20years of experience in the field,collaborating widely (>40 researchpapers published since 2014) thatputs our team at the forefront ofenvironmental extremes researchand innovation in the UK with agrowing international profile. LOOKING FORWARD Through our research, innovationand education, people will learnhow to prepare for safe andeffective activity in environmentalextremes to optimise performanceand reduce risk of illness. We seekfurther collaboration within thepublic and private sector, offeringour expertise to those industrieswhere employees are hot at work. References Waldock, K., Hayes, M., Watt, P. andMaxwell, N.S. (2017), Physiologicaland perceptual responses in theelderly to simulated daily livingactivities in UK summer climaticconditions. Journal of Public Health(in press) Willmott, A.G.B., Bliss, A., Simpson,W.H., Tocker, S.M., Cottingham, R.and Maxwell, N.S. (2018), CAERvest®– A novel endothermic hypothermicdevice for core temperaturecooling – Safety and efficacy testing.International Journal of OccupationalSafety and Ergonomics, 24(1):118-128 Watkins, E., Hayes, M., Watt, P. andRichardson, A. (2018), Practical precoolingmethods for occupationalheat exposure Applied Ergonomics,70. 26-33 Watkins, E., Hayes, M., Watt, P andRichardson, A. (2018), Fire Instructorhealth and working practices: A UKsurvey. Arch Environ & OccupationalHealth. In Press. Watt, P., Willmott, A.G.B, Maxwell,N.S., Smeeton, N., Watt, E. andRichardson, A.J. (2016), Physiologicaland psychological responses in FireInstructors to heat exposures. Journalof Thermal Biology, 58. pp. 106-114
Period5 Jul 2018
Held atUniversity of Brighton