New diagnostic tool aims to cut heat stress in outdoor work

SOUTHEAST ASIA: Scientists are now testing a new temperature-sensing pill that could help to diagnose and prevent the most severe examples of heat stress among outdoor workers in three Southeast Asia labour markets, including Singapore's construction industry workforce.

The research project of the National University of Singapore will monitor 40 employees and migrant workers during their work to find understand the effectiveness of the solution.

The pill, described as the “gold standard to quantify heat strain,” can wirelessly transmit temperature data to a handheld sensor. The same analysis will also be conducted in Cambodia and Vietnam as part of regional studies under Project HeatSafe.

“Studies done overseas have shown that when you’re hot or hyperthermic, you tend to make wrong or unsound decisions, due to thermal discomfort,” Jason Lee, the study’s lead principal investigator, said.

"If a machine requires 10 steps to operate, but you feel hot and uncomfortable, you make skip some steps and that may result in accidents and injuries. Workers in the construction and labour sectors are vulnerable to heat-induced death and exertional heatstroke because of the nature of their work."

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