With summer almost upon us, many mine sites across Australia will now be re-focusing efforts on sun protection (UV Exposure) and dehydration programs to ensure that the exposure risks to site staff are minimised. There’s certainly a lot of money spent across the mining industry each year on sun protection creams and education programs, but there’s also some low cost wearable devices now available that can assist mine workers to measure their own UV exposure.
We’ve identified a couple of wearable devices that are becoming readily available and can assist in monitoring mineworker UV exposure. While they may be ‘geeky’ gadgets on the outside, they may just end up as great tools in raising awareness and increasing protection.
Here’s a couple of the latest tech gadgets that we identified that might prove useful in this year’s sun protection campaigns.
Qsun, a Canadian startup have developed the device that essentially clips on your clothing, links up to an app and by using an algorithm the wearable monitor analyses your sun exposure in real-time by combining your current sun exposure with your skin type, environmental situation and sun safety habits to provide tailored recommendations on the appropriate controls that you should take. It uses a coin type battery and notifies you through its’ app of your exposure risks.
My Skin Track
If you’re looking for something more stylish, L’Oreal (yes the makeup brand), have launched a device that is unpowered and links with your iPhone to measure exposure to UV A & UVB. It’s a tiny device that you can clip onto the collar of of your best fluoro clothing or mount on your helmet. It’s just launched at select Apple stores in the US and on apple.com, and according to L’Oreal the world’s first battery-free wearable electronic device to measure UV exposure. While we don’t know at this stage how suitable it might be for a mining environment, it may be another
Comprehensive sun protection program is best
Monitor mineworker UV exposure is an important part of any mining health & safety program where mineworkers work outdoors.
UV light causes both acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) health problems. These problems can be painful, disfiguring and sometimes fatal. Sunburn is painful evidence of overexposure, with sunburn that blisters considered a second-degree burn. Chronic effects include premature ageing of the skin, cataracts and skin cancer.
In reality these devices don’t protect miners from sun exposure but, they may increase awareness about wearing sunscreen and the effects of exposure. While they don’t eliminate effective sun protection programs they may add value by providing real time feedback. They’re another tool for safety and health professionals to assist in changing behaviour regarding sun exposures and minimising risks of over exposure.
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