Moisture vapour permeable gloves extend thermal endurance and safe work time more than other similarly permeable chemical-biological ancillary protective items.

Christie N. Godsmark, Michael J. Tipton, Michael R. Dennis, James R. House

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Working in Chemical Biological (CB) protective equipment causes thermoregulatory strain by restricting evaporative cooling. We quantified which impermeable ancillary items [gloves(G), body armour liner(BAL), respirator(R) and overboots(OB)] imposed the greatest and the least thermoregulatory strain through restricting evaporative cooling. The study was a five-condition repeated-measures design with male volunteers (n = 13) who stepped intermittently with recovery periods in a desert-like environment (40.5 °C, 20% rh). Conditions varied in the ensemble worn, with a matched weight secured to the area when an item was not worn: CON(CB suit plus all items), NR(no R), NBAL(no BAL [170g liner]), NG(no G) and NOB(no OB). The greatest reduction in thermoregulatory strain compared with CON occurred in NG when the rise of rectal temperature was attenuated by 0.37 °C.hr−1 (p < .001), extending tolerance time by 21.3% (p < .05) and improving perceived thermal comfort. The least improvement occurred for NOB. It is recommended that the G permeability be examined further.
Practitioner summary: Thermoregulatory strain was quantified when wearing impermeable protective equipment. The thermal burden of intermittent exercise in desert-like environments was best alleviated by removing gloves compared to removing a respirator, overboots or body armour liner. Reducing the evaporative resistance of materials used for such kit, particularly gloves, should be investigated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1635-1645
Number of pages11
JournalErgonomics
Volume61
Issue number12
Early online date11 Mar 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

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