Expo 2020 Dubai uses wellness wearables to improve workers’ safety
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Expo 2020 Dubai uses wellness wearables to improve workers’ safety

Expo 2020 Dubai uses wellness wearables to improve workers’ safety

The wellness wearable devices, regularly used by elite athletes worldwide, have been tailored to the needs of construction workers

Gulf Business

As part of its Worker Wellness Programme, Expo 2020 Dubai is creating a strategic roadmap for future construction projects and mega-events to assume safety standards.

The first phase of the programme – a project to measure workers’ health and well-being using wearable wellness technology – ran for 30 months from October 2017, using Whoop wearable wrist-strap wellness devices for continuous measuring of construction workers’ well-being on the Expo 2020 site.

A total of 5,540 workers participated on a voluntary basis, with the project focusing on preventative health through monitoring and reporting, health treatment and health research.

The programme forms part of Expo 2020’s wider approach to worker welfare and health and safety.

Rashid Mohammed, deputy chief operations officer, Expo 2020, said: “Given the number of workers on site, this programme is unique – we haven’t come across any other project that tracks human physiology at this scale. 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.”

The Whoop devices collected data measurements winnowed into three categories: effort, sleep and recovery. Factors such as heart rate variability, resting heart rate, and sleep auto-detection were collated, with custom reports then built to show workers their data in a weekly summary.

During the programme, 153,785 worker progress reports were issued to participants.

In tandem, medical experts from Expo 2020’s on-site Emergency Centre carried out 1,467 screenings for workers whose reports highlighted any potential underlying condition, with appropriate treatment given to those found to have a health issue.

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. All of this will lead to a better and safer working environment for construction workers from around the world.”

More than 13 terabytes of data have been collected via the wellness wearable devices, and the information is being used for research by internationally recognised academics from the UAE’s University of Sharjah.

The research focuses on cardiovascular health and sleep disorders, with the aim being to ensure the well-being of construction workforces at future construction sites and mega-events.

The wellness wearable ‘Whoop Straps’, regularly used by elite athletes around the world, have been tailored to the needs of construction workers – with a bespoke charging/syncing system devised to collect data daily during their lunch breaks, and printed reports provided to all participants in multiple languages.

The academic findings of the Worker Wellness Programme’s first phase are due to be released later this year.

A second phase of the programme will begin in 2021, using wellness wearable technology to monitor the well-being of workers during the six months of Expo 2020.

The Expo 2020 Dubai event, which will run from October 1, 2021, until March 31, 2020, is the first World Expo to take place in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA).

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