According to OSHA Emergency Preparedness Guidelines, workers can be exposed to heat stress when their deep internal core temperature rises higher than 100.4 degrees F (38 degrees C). In addition to high air temperatures, culprits for inducing heat stress can include high humidity, radiant heat sources, direct physical contact with hot objects, or strenuous physical activities. Vortec Personal Air Conditioning Vests (PACs) circulate cool air to minimize temperature-related stress and fatigue, thus improving comfort and productivity.
Heat stress, though often considered during the summer months, is problematic in some industries throughout the year. Indoor operations where problems can occur year-round include foundries, paint and welding shops, electrical utilities (especially boiler rooms), chemical plants, mining sites, smelters, steam tunnels and other locations where full body Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be worn. Outdoor operations conducted in hot weather are also likely to cause heat stress among exposed workers, including; construction, refining, asbestos removal, hazardous waste site activities, emergency response operations and workers who wear semi-permeable or impermeable protective clothing.
Several types of PPE are effective in minimizing heat stress, among them:
o Reflective clothing
o Auxiliary body cooling ice vests
o Wetted clothing
o Water-cooled garments
o Circulating air
Per OSHA Technical Manual on Heat Stress, circulating air is the most highly effective personal cooling system. Vortec PACs use a vortex tube to reduce the temperature of the air circulating through their vests, which diffuses the air flows around the worker’s torso.
The circulating air is up to 60 degrees F cooler than ambient, keeping workers cool even in oppressive environments. Durable, plasticized vests are available in three sizes and provide continuous cooled or warmed air through its perforated lining. They do not restrict movement, do not absorb sweat or other contaminants, and can be worn under other protective clothing. Dual action PACs can easily switch from cold to hot, to provide comfort in all seasons, and amortize the investment in this proven PPE.