An innovative air-conditioned safety helmet with the potential to transform the construction industry in hot climates has been unveiled at the Indian pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.
The range of helmets was invented by Indian start-up Jarsh Safety and unveiled by electronics distributor NIA Limited, a company with headquarters in Dubai.
Inventors Kausthub Kaundinya, Sreekanth Kommula and Anand Kumar made a prototype of the Jarsh AC Helmet in 2016 after experiencing discomfort while using safety helmets in hot weather.
The trio, all in their 20s, formed the manufacturing business Jarsh Safety and set about creating the helmet.
“This has taken more than two years of research and because we have put a lot of the work in ourselves it has cost just $100,000 to get the product to this stage,” Mr Kaundinya said.
“It is a fully portable AC unit and one of the smallest.
“It is slightly heavier but from our research we learnt it takes users about 5-6 days to get used to the extra weight, in a similar way to wearing steel toe-capped safety boots.”
Construction and industrial workers are not permitted to work during the hottest hours of the day in summer, while UAE law mandates that workers should be provided with protective safety gear and suitable clothing.
At 800 grams, the helmets weigh almost twice that of a normal construction helmet but are about half the weight of a standard motorcycle crash helmet.
A built-in visor provides eye protection from the glaring sun, while four built-in fans circulate air around the wearer’s head.
It comes in four variations, for machine operators, skilled technicians, executives such as site managers and a special welding helmet complete with a full-face shield.
No coolant fluids are used in the protection, only the technology to circulate cool air.
The helmet’s turbo-cooling can reduce the temperature inside the helmet to only 15°C in three to five minutes.
Batteries used in the system have been tested in temperatures of 65°C and are protected in a similar way to those in electric vehicles so they are not compromised on impact.
A single charge in a basic air-conditioned helmet lasts for about 10 hours.
The helmets can also be used in cold weather, with a built-in heater to warm the wearer.
“There is nothing more important than a worker’s health, so you can’t put a price on that but this will be a cost-effective solution for businesses,” said Mr Kaundinya, who developed the product in the southern Indian state of Telangana for miners, where temperatures can reach 40°C.
“In summer across the GCC and India, workers get sick due to geothermal exhaustion. This leads to a lot of absence through sick days, which has a cost for companies.
"This helmet can help eliminate that. If workers are comfortable, they are more productive.
“In the companies that have trialled the helmets, they said they were breaking even because of fewer sick days.
“They [the helmets] are an investment for the future.”
The product is to go on sale in January across the GCC and in India, Australia and South Africa.
Although a price was not revealed, it is likely to be considerably more than the standard safety helmets currently worn on building sites.
Helmets will be made to order and no stock will be held by Jarsh, reducing their financial outlay as the product launches into new markets.
While no sales have been made so far in the UAE, that is expected to change.
“In line with the UAE government’s endeavours to advance workforce welfare standards, NIA Limited is proud to introduce to the UAE and the wider region this game-changing safety and comfort gear,” said Kamran Khan, the company's chief executive.
“Connecting minds is a key feature of Expo 2020 Dubai and this safety helmet fits in perfectly with that idea.”