With the advances in electronics and the development of short range and ultra-low power radio transceivers, Wearable Wireless Sensor Networks (W-WSNs) have recently emerged as a key enabling technology for the health monitoring and safety management in critical applications. Wearable WSNs consist of devices attached, or implanted, into human bodies to monitor and collect information related to their physiological parameters, movements as well as the surrounding environment. The collected data are then transmitted in real-time to remote command centers for timely decision making. In this context, Wearable Sensor Technology will enable the remote and preemptive monitoring of mobile workforce and critical assets in industrial environments, such as oil and gas fields. In this paper we present a survey on recent advances in wearable sensing and communication technologies and its applications in the context of workforce and critical assets safety and management. First, we explain the specific applications scenarions and their detailed requirements. Second, existing standards, projects, products and solutions for health monitoring and safety management of mobile workers and their limitations are explored. Finally future trends and open research challenges are discussed as an inspiration for the future development in new wearable sensor technology-based applications.

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