UAE firm creates sensor-fitted clothing for Gulf construction workers

Crescent Enterprises' CEO said the "tiny sensors" can go a long way in worker wellbeing

The UAE's Crescent Enterprises has created a workwear line, Shamal, for outdoor construction workers in the Gulf [representational image].
The UAE's Crescent Enterprises has created a workwear line, Shamal, for outdoor construction workers in the Gulf [representational image].

The UAE’s Crescent Enterprises has created a line of sensor-fitted clothing for blue-collar workers. Clothes included in the Shamal line will monitor the health of their wearer, chief executive officer, Badr Jafar, said.

Crescent Enterprises’ internal incubator, CE-Creates, has worked on Shamal. Jafar said, adding that the concept stemmed from workwear used by many workers that is unsuitable for the hot and humid climate in the Gulf.

In a span of 18 months, Crescent Enterprises worked with companies in India and the US to “develop a line of clothing specifically for the workforce, and outdoor labourers” in the Gulf and beyond. However, a report cited Jafar explaining that the region has “billions of dollars of infrastructure projects that will require a lot of outdoor work”, making Shamal an important addition to the regional building industry.

Many items within Shamal include “little sensors” that can be used by foremen to monitor the health of their staff. Jafar said that while foremen want to keep track of health concerns such as low blood pressure or fatigue, they “usually don’t know until it’s too late”.

He continued: “But with tiny sensors that are dirt cheap and embedded into these suits, the foremen in their offices can have a full map of all the vitals of all their workers on site, and can, in advance, see if there is anything out of the ordinary.

READ: Are Middle East HSE chiefs ready for wearable tech?

“The material science and technology was there. We didn’t need to re-invent the wheel. The sports industry, from golfers to footballers, [has] this. It’s just about applying it in a cost-effective way to outdoor work,” Jafar told Construction Week’s sister title, Arabian Business.

Crescent Enterprises’ clothing line is the latest initiative in a push for wearable technology that has captured the imagination of global and regional construction firms alike.

This January, UAE facility management company Khansaheb Group FM launched its corporate wellness programme by offering 65 fitness trackers to all employees at its project site in Al Ghadeer Village, Abu Dhabi.

In 2016, construction workers in the UAE were given air-conditioned (AC) vests during Ramadan as part of an initiative spearheaded by Emirates NBD. The AC vests were made of special cooling fabric, and functioned with the aid of water.

After being submerged in water for five to 10 minutes, the vests reduced wearers’ body temperatures by 5-7°C for up to eight hours.

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