Qatar workers to get air-con hard hats for sweltering summer work

Qatar University has developed a solar-powered "cooling" hard hat with a built-in fan that reduces the skin temperature of construction workers by up to 10 degrees centigrade, allowing for safer conditions for those building stadiums for the 2022 World Cup.

It has the potential to revolutionise the construction industry in hotter areas of the world– Dr. Saud Abdul-Aziz Abdul-Ghani, Qatar University

In a move to show it is taking worker welfare seriously, organisers have ordered the helmets, which have been tested and patented, and the plan is to issue them to World Cup workers this summer, according to Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC).

An embedded solar panel on top of the helmet powers a fan to suck in hot air, which is then cooled by phase change materials and filtered onto the worker’s head. The combined mechanism, plus a back-up battery, adds 300 grams to the weight of the hat, and $20 to its cost.

"This type of body-based cooling technology has been used before in US sports for training purposes in hot states, but we have now developed this innovative solution for the construction sector and we believe it has the potential to revolutionise the construction industry in hotter areas of the world," said Dr. Saud Abdul-Aziz Abdul-Ghani, Professor at the College of Engineering at Qatar University.

He said the technology can help reduce heatstroke and regulate body temperatures.

"While this technology is developed and designed in Qatar and will be first used on our sites, we believe it can have a legacy which extends to many other parts of the world which have hot summer climates," Abdul-Ghani said. "This development also confirms our commitment to utilising the impetus of the World Cup to promote innovation and a culture of safety in our region."

Qatar has come under intense international criticism for its treatment of thousands of migrant labourers building World Cup venues.

Dr. Saud Abdul-Aziz Abdul-Ghani, of Qatar University, demonstrates the "air conditioned" hard hat (Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy)

Last year a report by the International Trade Union Confederation estimated that 7,000 workers will die before the tournament kicks off in 2022.

The kingdom has responded by building standard-setting labour camps and by pledging to reform its labour laws, but advocacy bodies have criticised such moves as superficial.

Qatar University tested the cooling hard hat in climatic chambers, analysing the amount of sweat per hour and adding the effect of sun, air, wind and measurement of the amount of heat that passed through the head.

"The material we use inside the helmet is Phase Changing Material (PCM) contained in a pouch, and this increases the total load of the helmet only by 300 grams," said Abdul-Ghani.

"This provides cooling in hot conditions for up to four hours straight. People when working in the sun will get cool air coming down at the front of their faces. When they go for a break, they throw it into a refrigerator and pick up a cold pack and put it into their helmets."

He added: "We did research on the best areas to lower body temperature, and it was the head and face. The additional cost is just twenty dollars in comparison to a normal passive helmet, but the results are felt immediately in terms of less lost time on site due to heat-related complaints."

Top image: An embedded solar panel on top of the helmet powers a fan to suck in hot air, which is cooled by phase change materials and filtered onto the worker’s head (Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy) 

Story for GCR? Get in touch via email: [email protected]


  1. The winning combination of stout hearts and cool heads in such conditions is tops!!

  2. cool head, hot body, ridiculous design, concept

  3. the workers who r building the stadiums and give them back their passports so that thy can feed their families back home in INDIA,PAKISTAN AND PALESTINE..and withdraw right to hold WORLD CUP until they do so

  4. It is true “Health is Wealth,” for decades, the construction industry has used the same personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep our workers safe; hard hats, high visibility vests, safety-toed boots, gloves and glasses have been responsible for saving numerous lives and preventing countless injuries. But just as design and construction technology progresses among construction companies, so too should the critical equipment we rely on to protect our peoples health and well-being.

    With revolutionize technology, the hardhat undergoing a makeover the transformation will be incredible. An addition of a cooling systems in hard hat in place no matter what task is being formed, it keeps the worker more productive with additional attention to details on site because a healthy bodies produce client satisfied end-products. While standard hard hats provide adequate protection to satisfy safety, the new revolutionized hardhat not only offers additional health benefits, rear and side coolants, but it can also accommodate general body desire body temperature mostly in hot temperate regions.

    The prospect of improving workers health through construction helmets on jobsites as part of PPE should be encouraged in order to make the industry more enticing and welcoming. This helmet should be tested for safer, lighter and more comfortable conditions prior to polarizing and regulate with advantages that surpass the traditional hard hat, and with mission to drastically improve safety and health for construction workers. Moreover, it should have greater service life and good for probably 10-year period.

    We recognize project teams love their annual Safety Week hard hat stickers and the nostalgic stories this insignia tells of past jobs and their career journey. But after wearing the new helmets for the first half of the year, our employees don’t want to go back to the old-style hard hat. This technology successfully removes the hazard of the hard hat being removed during a task, and wearing the face shield eliminates the possibility of forgetting to wear eye protection. While I know it’s important for technological advances to also ensure the timely and quality delivery of projects, it’s far more exciting for me to watch evolving technology that is focused on supporting the safety and well-being of construction workers.

Comments are closed.

Latest articles in Innovation