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Subjective perceptions and ergonomics evaluation of a liquid cooled garment worn under protective ensemble during an intermittent treadmill exercise

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While a personal protective equipment (PPE) ensemble effectively provides workers with protection from occupational hazards, working in a vapour-resistant ensemble increases the risk of heat illness/injuries and physiological burdens. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of body cooling via a liquid-cooled garment (LCG) underneath a PPE ensemble on perceived thermal strain, physiological responses and ergonomics during an intermittent treadmill exercise in warm environmental conditions. The results of the present study indicated that the concomitant wearing of LCG underneath the PPE ensemble significantly reduced subjective perception of heat and alleviated overall increase in body temperature and heart rate while no impact of wearing LCG on ergonomic features was found. The extension of the present findings to practical applications in occupational settings requires further research on a LCG system design and performance evaluations while the LCG is incorporated within the PPE ensemble.

Statement of Relevance: Implementation of a LCG underneath PPE for body cooling was investigated, focusing on its impact on individuals' perceived thermal strain, physiological responses and ergonomics. The findings of the present study indicated that body cooling via a wearable LCG underneath PPE significantly alleviated both perceived thermal and physiological strain in uncompensable heat stress condition.
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Keywords: ergonomics; liquid-cooled garment; protective ensemble; subjective perceptions

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory,National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, PittsburghPA, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2011

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