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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Beat the Scorching Texas Heat - Week One

Summer has arrived in Texas in full force this week. Our first week of 100 plus degree heat means doing everything we can to attempt to stay cool.

We all know ways to keep heat exhaustion at bay are staying hydrated and using fans as well as understanding and knowing the symptoms of heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke. Click here for more information about heat exhaustion.

With that in mind an experiment was started in a non-climate controlled production floor.  In addition to hydration and fans, a cooling vest was added to the mix to see how and if it affected one employee's productivity. This experiment is an independent experiment, conducted purely for information only and was not requested or controlled by the employer.

The production floor is subject to whatever current climate conditions are occurring. The doors are open in summer and closed in winter to keep the elements at bay. Fans are used to keep a constant breeze and Gatorade is provided as well as water to keep employees well hydrated during the summer. Training is provided yearly about the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and employees are expected to be vigilant and taking water breaks etc. to keep these symptoms to a minimum.

We wanted to see how adding a cooling vest into the mix would affect and possibly counteract the conditions and see if it would possibly affect employee productivity. Given the fact that every employee isn't testing these since it's an independent experiment, I can't say everyone would have these results but I have to say that conditions that normally would tend to make me very sluggish and cranky have definitely been combated by the addition of this cooling vest.

Vest chosen for use is seen by clicking here. A combination of PCM packs and Gel packs were used to see what the difference is between the 2. Phase change or PCM packs cool at 58 degrees for 2 to 4 hours depending on the conditions they are being used in. It was found that these last for at least 2 hours if frozen completely prior to use. Packs slide in easily through Velcro enclosures on the side of the vest. Gel packs cool to 32 degrees for up to an hour depending on conditions or activity being performed.

Testimony based on following question asked at end of first week of use: Question: How much do you estimate the vest has increased your productivity in the heat? "From last week over 50% and mentally I'm not sluggish. Very focused. Less errors in my work. Not as thirsty and underwear isn't soaked."

I'd say this is a win overall. The vest will be in constant use as the summer progresses in different conditions including outside in full sun. I will keep reporting the results but as a first week it seems to be a good addition to any regimen that includes working in non-climate controlled conditions here in Texas to help combat heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke. The vest is advertised as a workout cool down tool, however I think we may have found a great secondary use for it. We will continue to report on the progress and how hardy the vest and the cooling packs are over the course of the rest of the summer so stay tuned for more info.

The information expressed is our direct experience only and how this has helped personal activity/productivity only. Purchase and use of this vest is at your own discretion as we can only report what it directly affects with the use we put it through. We are not experts and by any means, just normal people using this product in ways we think it might help and reporting on the results.