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Reliable Industrial Measurement of Core Body Temperature

Reliable Industrial Measurement of Core Body Temperature

Commissioned by British Glass, our members and the IOSH Research Committee, a research project into reliable industrial measurement of core body temperature in industrial environments through non-intrusive means has now reached publication.

The project aimed to establish a consistent relationship between core body temperature and that of the tympanic membrane of the ear in order to identify a non-intrusive method of monitoring workers’ core body temperature.

The project involved field data study in workplace environments where individuals are exposed to elevated temperatures, including furnace operations in both glass and cast-metals manufacture. Individuals in these organisations volunteered to participate in the study and ingested a temperature-sensitive intra-gastric pill – which provides a reliable measure of the core body temperature. Field study by IOM’s professional staff compared the data from these intra-gastric pills to temperatures taken using a non-intrusive infra-red thermometer.

At this time, the only reliable method for establishing an individual’s core body temperature has been the use of rectal thermometers or through the use of the temperature-sensitive intra-gastric pill – neither of which are feasible in most industrial environments where the threat of Heat Stress can be a concern.

This project, “Reliable Industrial Measurement of Core Body Temperature”, investigated a potential methodology for the use of non-intrusive infra-red thermometers, however at this time has not established sufficient reliability for this to be used as a monitoring or screening tool to prevent excessive heat exposure, but provides useful guidance and feedback for management of hot-work processes.

Conducted by the Institute of Occupational Medicine Ltd (IOM), this project was funded by British Glass Manufacturers’ Confederation and its’ members, IOSH and a number of trade unions and trade federations.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who supported this initial project have now released additional funding for a second project, which aims to improve the reliability of the test-method through device and measurement errors.

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