Measuring and evaluating the parameters associated with predicted heat strain have always been a challenge for health and safety practitioners. A new free app for calculating predicted heat strain has been created to assist personnel to evaluate potential heat stress risks through the input of known data.
This application allows the input a number of parameters associated with the environment, task and individual to evaluate the work scenario’s potential risks and controls without requiring access to a computer.
The mobile phone application based on ISO 7933:2004 Ergonomics of the thermal environment — Analytical determination and interpretation of heat stress using calculation of the predicted heat strain.
The apps developments was funded by the University of Queensland and Rio Tinto to assist in the measurement of Predicted Heat Strain to a higher degree than was previously available.
Rational Heat Stress
Rational heat stress indices have been shown to provide a more accurate assessment of heat stress scenarios than many of the simpler and more commonly used empirical indices such as Effective Temperature (ET) and Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT).
A key advantage is that rational indices also provide an avenue for the health professional to assess potential heat strain using additional parameters as well as evaluate potential controls.
Despite this, they have not been as readily accepted and utilised. One of the barriers has been their complexity and the numerous calculations associated with their use, requiring access to a computer.
Based on the input data, the app uses a number of algorithms to produce predicted core body temperature and water loss graphs and reports.
It is envisaged that the app will become a useful tool for practising occupational health and safety professional in the investigation and control of heat stress in the field. Once only accessible to academics or with the purchase of expensive equipment, this free app will take heat stress assessment for the health & safety professional to another level.
Note: ISO 7933:2004 does not predict the physiological response of individual subjects, but only considers standard subjects in good health and fit for the work they perform. It is therefore intended to be used by ergonomists, industrial hygienists, etc., to evaluate working conditions.
The App is now available in the Apple App Store and Google Play For more information about the application and to access a downloadable user guide for the application visit the Website at http://ergonomics.uq.edu.au/PHS/index.html.
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