By Nikhil Pereira
Data collected from 5,500 workers measures levels of effort, sleep and recovery ensuring workers remain healthy with preventative screenings
Expo 2020 Dubai has developed what it says is the future for health and safety of workers on major construction projects.
The monitor for health workers - in the form of a wearable wrist strap - has been used at Expo 2020 Dubai's site for the last 30 months under a 'Worker Wellness Programme'.
A total of 5,540 construction workers wellbeing were measured using the Whoop-manufactured wearable wrist straps - also worn by elite athletes to measure key metrics from their training sessions.
In this case, the Whoop devices collated data such as heart rate variability, resting heart rate, and sleep autodetection, with custom reports then built to show workers their data in a weekly summary - 153,785 worker progress reports were issued to participants through the course of the programme.
The data helped medical experts from Expo 2020’s on-site emergency centre to carry out 1,467 preventative screenings for workers whose reports highlighted potential underlying conditions.
More than 13 terabytes of data have been collected via the wellness wearable devices, which will form the basis for research by the University of Sharjah.
The research will focus on cardiovascular health and sleep disorders, with an aim to inform the future of worker wellness. The organisers believe the basis of the study will ensure well-being of construction workforces at future major construction sites and mega-events.
According to the Expo 2020 deputy COO Rashid Mohammed the organisers “haven’t come across any other project that tracks human physiology at this scale”.
He added: “The data gathered will form part of the legacy that Expo 2020 leaves the world, taking us one step closer to predictive models that can save lives.”
Will Ahmed, Founder and CEO, Whoop, said: “Construction is one of the biggest sectors in the world, yet from a health monitoring standpoint these sites are being developed in the same way as 200 years ago. By using Whoop technology, we can understand what it will take to prevent injuries and to make a workforce healthier.”
Toufik Refki, Director, Worker Wellness Programme, Expo 2020 Dubai said: “Our construction workers are the lifeblood of Expo 2020, and their safety and welfare are overriding priorities for us. Through this programme, we are able to shed more light on the health habits, routines and needs of construction workers and help create a safer workplace for them.”
The academic findings of the Worker Wellness Programme’s first phase are due to be released later this year. A second phase will begin 2021, using wellness wearable technology to monitor the health and well-being of workers during the six months of Expo 2020, which runs from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.
Pintu Ramlal, a mason at Expo 2020 Dubai and a volunteer in phase one of the project, said: “Ever since I started using the Whoop Strap, I noticed a lot of benefits. I check my reports every week and I often speak to the health advisors to help me action the reports’ recommendations and improve my health. I have encouraged my friends to join and explained the benefits of the programme to them.”