When it comes to Heat Stress Prevention, OSHA’s Water, Rest and Shade Guidelines are really just the start. While it does lay the groundwork, a complete program goes beyond the basics to also include advanced cooling technologies to keep workers safe both outdoors as well as in. So let’s break down the two main types of cooling PPE and technologies, and talk about how easy they are to use and when and where you would utilize each.
Let’s start with Evaporative Cooling Technology. Evaporative Cooling Technology is going to be ideal for someone working in an environment with adequate airflow and also low-to-moderate humidity levels. To activate an Evaporative Cooling Product, you are going to want to fully saturate the product in water and then expose it to airflow. It’s that easy. Once activated, you’re going to get up to four hours of cooling with that product.
Evaporative Cooling Products come in a variety of different models and styles. You can find them in vest form to help regulate your core body temperature even better or you can find it in accessories—whether that be cooling bandanas, cooling towels or hard hat attachment accessories.
There’s one additional type of Evaporative Cooling Technology that I wanted to touch on and that’s Dry Evaporative Technology. Dry Evaporative Cooling Technology is different from Wet Evaporative in that the wearer stays dry 100% of the time. Just as easy to activate by filling the vest with water, and then you’re going to get up to three days of cooling with that cooling technology.
Moving on to Phase Change… We know it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach and there are workers in a variety of different environments. Those who are working in high heat environments like manufacturing, foundries and bakeries, to name a few, or those who are wearing layers of PPE and do not have access to airflow are going to benefit from a Phase Change Cooling Technology. What’s great about Phase Change is, regardless of environmental variables, once activated, it’s going to stay cool for between two and four hours.
Now, Phase Change packs are easy to activate. Your simply soak them in a bucket of ice water, put them in the refrigerator or a cooler for up to 15 minutes. And as I said, once activated, you don’t have to worry about humidity or airflow. You can wear it under your PPE and you’re going to stay cool for 2 to 4 hours.
For more information on Cooling PPE and Heat Stress Basic Awareness, search Heat Stress on our Tenacious Blog at Ergodyne.com