Background Human and industrial activities are increasing in the Arctic. Several countries are involved in Arctic business e.g. through oil and gas, mining, fisheries, tourism, as well as technology suppliers and developers for those fields. Year-round activity in the area involves challenging climate for the industries as well as workers’ performance and occupational safety. In the cold, thermal comfort, work capacity and productivity decrease and the risk of mistakes, errors and accidents increase. Peripheral or uncovered body parts, like hands, are the first to cool when humans are exposed to cold resulting in reduced manual and psychomotor performance.
Recently started SmartPro-project (Smart protective solutions for industrial safety and productivity in the cold) aims to assure productivity and occupational safety in cold by developing proactive auxiliary heating solutions for protective clothing and gloves.
Methods The project is organised in three work packages (WP). WP1 develops an algorithm for monitoring cold stress for workers, WP2 creates novel gloves which have new design and optimal thermal insulation supported by auxiliary smart heating system, and WP3 is for project management and dissemination.
Results This project will develop novel solutions for interactive heating systems for the hands and early warning systems of critical levels of cold. Smart solutions, such as wireless sensors, wearable computing and auxiliary heating together with material solutions, will be integrated into a protective workwear jacket and novel designed gloves.
Conclusions The SmartPro-project will lead to smarter and safer work in several industries, where workers are frequently exposed to harsh weather environment. Integrating wireless sensors in protective clothing and gloves will provide, together with the knowledge from the thermal environment, an early warning mechanism of critical level of cold exposure on work site and on an individual level in real time.
- Manual Performance