Expo 2020 Dubai uses wellness wearables to improve workers’ safety, therein lifting safety standards for major construction projects and mega-events in the future. It has launched a pioneering Worker Wellness Programme 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 US fitness technology company Whoop’s wearable wrist-strap wellness devices for round-the-clock measuring of construction workers’ well-being on the Expo 2020 site. With this Expo 2020 Dubai seeks to leave a positive legacy beyond its operational period – from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.
“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,” said Rashid Mohammed, deputy COO, Expo 2020 Dubai.
The Whoop devices collected data measurements split into three categories, including 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 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.
“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,” added Toufik Refki, director, worker wellness programme, Expo 2020 Dubai.
The academic findings of the Worker Wellness Programme’s first phase are due to be released later this year. A second phase will begin in 2021, using wellness wearable technology to monitor the health and well-being of workers during the six months of Expo 2020 Dubai.