Workers constructing Lusail Stadium, which will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup final, have hailed as success the innovative cooling technology provided by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC). Evaporative cooling vests, wrist-wraps, cooled towels and neck covers were recently tested by 150 workers at the Lusail Stadium project site. Made from state-of-the-art evaporative and phase change materials, the technology cooled the body temperatures of workers by up to 10C.
Every worker who took part in the recent pilot described the technology as beneficial, while more than three-quarters said the cooling effect was "very good." Following the success of the pilot, SC will now assess the results of the report before exploring ways to utilise the technology which will benefit workers in the short, medium and long-term.
The pilot was conducted by US-based Techniche in collaboration with the SC and HBK Contracting, Lusail Stadium's main contractor. Temperatures on-site reached 40C during the pilot. Workers tested the technology for a full day, during which they were regularly monitored. Thermal images were taken throughout the test to measure the body temperature of the workers and measure the effectiveness of the technology.
Kalyan Viswanathan, HBK Contracting's workers' welfare manager, said the workers welcomed the trial. "The initial response was positive. The workers liked the comfort. It enables them to work better, and increase productivity."
Meanwhile, Techniche Managing Director James Russell said the trial gave them "a foundation to test our technologies and let us understand how we can fight heat stress in these conditions."
Russell went on to explain how the technology keeps a worker cool. "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 10 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," Russell added.
For his part, Mahmoud Qutub, senior adviser of special projects office and the executive director of workers' welfare, said the pilot has been very beneficial. "The metrics captured by Techniche demonstrated in real-time the positive impact on both the mental and physical state of workers."
"Our aim is to find solutions right now using existing technology, however, there is an opportunity to develop a product that leaves a legacy for workers not only in Qatar but in any country with a similar climate. That is something we are already exploring," Qutub said.
The Techniche pilot is one of many uses of cooling products by the SC in 2017. Earlier this year, the Workers' Welfare Department deployed 10,000 cooled towels across all projects in parallel with a separate cooled vest trial on Al Wakrah Stadium. In addition, SC also developed an innovative cooled helmet capable of reducing temperatures by up to 10C. Following an extensive research and development phase, these helmets are expected to be rolled out next summer.
The use of cooled products on SC sites complements a host of initiatives that have been introduced across SC projects designed to enhance the living and working conditions of workers, including a health and nutrition programme with Weill-Cornell Medicine-Qatar, an extensive training and up-skilling programme, a dedicated grievance hotline, and a wide-spread programme of health checks and assessment of emergency medical facilities across all sites.