Outdoor workers are at high risk of suffering from heat-related illness when they are exposed to a hot and humid environment under prolonged working time. Providing suitable cooling vests for these workers might help alleviate heat stress during summer time. However, whether workers are willing to wear cooling vests is still uncertain because of various personal preferences. To understand the determinants of worker preferences on two kinds of cooling vests, field studies were conducted in construction, horticulture and cleaning, and airport apron services industries, respectively. Workers were asked to rate 18 items of subjective attributes from a self-administrated questionnaire. Based on 17 items of subjective attributes, workers revealed four underlying factors; namely, thermal comfort, usability, tactile comfort, and fabric hand (feel), as the underlying factors affecting their preference. Multiple linear regression analysis was conducted between the four underlying factors derived from factor analysis and one dependent variable 'dislike-like' to find out the reasons why horticultural and cleaning workers preferred one type of cooling vest over the others. Results indicated that while male and female workers were influenced differently by different underlying factors, usability was the common and determining factor having the strongest correlation with their preference regardless of gender difference. Thermal comfort, tactile comfort, and fabric hand (feel) were also important factors affecting their preferences. However, the choices of male workers were influenced more by thermal comfort, whereas female workers paid more attention to tactile comfort and fabric hand (feel). Therefore, gender differences should be considered in designing and constructing suitable cooling vests.
- Cooling vest preference
- Factor analysis
- Horticultural and cleaning workers
- Regression analysis