Objective: The provision of appropriate personal cooling vests is recognized as an effective measure to combat heat stress. However, personal cooling vests are not widely implemented in the Hong Kong industries. The current study aims to evaluate the usability of a hybrid cooling vest that is associated with the success of its application in industrial settings.
Methods: A self-administrated questionnaire focusing on 10 subjective attributes of cooling effect, ergonomic design and usability of a hybrid cooling vest was administered with 232 occupational workers in the construction, horticultural and cleaning, airport apron services and kitchen and catering industries.
Results: A structural equation model estimated by analysis of moment structures was constructed to evaluate the usability of the cooling vest, as influenced by cooling effect and ergonomic design. Results showed that cooling effect (path coefficient = 0.69, p < 0.001) and ergonomic design (path coefficient = 0.55, p < 0.001) significantly affect the usability of the cooling vest.
Conclusions: The structural equation model is feasible to examine the complex nature of the structural relationships among the subjective perceptions of personal cooling vests. The empirical findings furnish sound evidence for further optimization of the hybrid cooling vest in terms of cooling effect and ergonomic design for occupational workers.
Keywords: cooling effect; ergonomic design; occupational workers; structural equation model.