Expo 2020 Dubai uses wellness wearables to help improve workers' safety

The initiative is part of its pioneering Worker Wellness Programme

  
Running for six months from 20th October 2020 to 10th April 2021, and with more than 200 participants, including 192 countries, and 25 million expected visits, Expo 2020 Dubai was slated be the largest event ever held in the Arab region. Image courtesy Dubai Media Office Twitter handle. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Running for six months from 20th October 2020 to 10th April 2021, and with more than 200 participants, including 192 countries, and 25 million expected visits, Expo 2020 Dubai was slated be the largest event ever held in the Arab region. Image courtesy Dubai Media Office Twitter handle. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Expo 2020 Dubai is creating a new roadmap to help future major construction projects and mega-events, lift their safety standards.

It aims to do so my means of its pioneering Worker Wellness Programme, which is a massive project to measure workers' health and well-being using the latest wearable wellness technology.

The first phase of the programme ran for 30 months from October 2017, using Whoop wearable wrist-strap wellness devices for round-the-clock 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, designed to set new benchmarks for major construction projects and mega-events in the region and beyond, and leave a positive legacy long after Expo 2020 closes its doors on 31 March 2022.

The Whoop devices collected data measurements split into three categories: effort, sleep and recovery. Factors such as heart rate variability, resting heart rate, and sleep autodetection were collated, with custom reports then built to show workers their data in a weekly summary. During the course of 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 preventative screenings for workers whose reports highlighted any potential underlying condition, with appropriate treatment given to those found to have a health issue.

More than 13 terabytes of data have been collected via the wellness wearable devices, and this huge amount of information is forming the basis for research by internationally recognised academics from the UAE's University of Sharjah. The research focuses on cardiovascular health and sleep disorders, with the overarching aim to inform the future of worker wellness and ensure the well-being of construction workforces at future major construction sites and mega-events.

The technology used in the programme was developed by Expo 2020 in collaboration with American fitness tech company Whoop. The wellness wearable 'Whoop Straps', regularly used by elite athletes around the world, have been adapted 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 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 October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.

 

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