University of Toronto students deploy cooling vests to protect Gulf workers in the heat

AEGIS cooling vests 01062017The Aegis cooling vest on display. (Image source: Aegis)In anticipation for the 2022 World Cup, Qatar has been on a building frenzy with three construction projects being completed every day

Research has shown that workers out for sustained periods of time in the heat tend to experience heart attacks and develop several other heart dysfunctions.

Students at the University of Toronto noticed that in Qatar alone, by the time the World Cup begins in 2022, nearly 7000 are expected to die - with the heat being the largest cause. After realising the scale of this issue they took action and started aegis, a student-run organization with the aim preventing heart damage among workers through the use of Cooling Vests.

The vests work simply; they are activated through submersion in water, once put on the water, the vests absorb the heat, the fabric evaporates and the wearer is cooled.  

Last summer the Aegis team piloted the vests on a construction site in Qatar. Health data collected on site highlighted that workers were, in fact, enduring substantial heat stress and showed the vests to be a strong way of reducing such toll. Through this initial testing, substantial drops in the number of workers with high blood pressure and workers’ average body temperatures were witnessed.

After launching efforts in Qatar Aegis is looking to the UAE. it is working to launch a 200-vest program in partnership with Emirates NBD and are hoping to foster efforts across the nation.

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