Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, responsible for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, provided all construction crews at stadium sights with state of the art cooling vests.
The program underwent testing late last year where evaporative cooling vests, wrist-wraps, cooled towels and neck covers were tested by 150 workers at the Lusail Stadium project site. The apparel is made from state-of-the-art evaporative materials and was able to cool the body temperature of workers by 10 to 15 degrees Celsius. The vests were developed in conjunction with British-based firm TechNiche. The Managing Director of TechNiche, James Russell, discussed the jackets and stated,
“This was a really important day for us. It gave us a foundation to test our technologies and let us understand how we can fight heat stress in these conditions. The vests are made from an evaporative fabric called HyperKewl, which is a super-absorbent polymer fibre which you place directly into water to activate. It reduces a worker’s body temperature and lasts for around ten hours. This technology is at the forefront of the industry. Going forward, there will be research and development into how we take this technology forward, to enable the SC and Qatar to become leaders in heat stress management and workers’ welfare.
The vests incorporate unique polymer fibers that when submerged in water, retain and absorb it. The jacket design then channels the water as it evaporates to provide the wearer with a constant cooling effect. Additionally, on-site nurses and medical professionals continue to monitor the health of the workers in order to effectively gauge the effectiveness of the vests.
Currently, only 3,500 vests have been provided to those professions most susceptible to the heat such as scaffolders, carpenters, and steel fixers. More vests are expected to be provided to the 26,000 workers currently building the 8 planned World Cup stadiums.
Qatar has begun to take serious measures to prevent the exploitation and ensure the safety of many of the migrant workers that are crucial in order to make the World Cup possible. Researchers in Qatar have also developed state of the art hard hats with built in fans to construction workers. The helmet, which has been developed with scientists from Qatar University and Aspire Zone Foundation, will also be rolled to workers across SC’s construction sites. Additionally, workers have also been given cooling towels to wear around the neck and arms to provide further relief from the heat.
Furthermore, the Supreme Committee has invited a team of clinical researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar that is currently examining the health, diets, and habits of workers. The team is expected to evaluate the quality of food eaten by workers, along with nutritional intake as well as challenges that may be resolved with improved diets.