In manufacturing, it can be hard to maintain cool conditions. Large, open-plan factory floors aren’t conducive to air conditioning. The buildings are often poorly insulated, and ventilation often prioritizes clean air over cool air. Plus, there are numerous machines that generate heat. On top of this, people often have to wear protective clothing that keeps them from sweating effectively. This can have all the makings of heat illness, including heatstroke, for manufacturing employees. Not only that, but workers are more likely to make mistakes when they’re hot, leading to costly and dangerous accidents.
Fortunately, once people are adjusted to hot conditions, their risk of developing heat illness reduces dramatically, although it doesn’t go away. You can further reduce the risk for your employees by taking specific steps when they are new, returning from vacation, or dealing with spiking temperatures due to weather or other changes. In addition, Portacool portable industrial evaporative coolers can play an essential role in protecting your employees.
One of the most important tools you can give your employees to protect against heat illness is knowledge. If they learn to recognize the signs of heat illness in themselves and their coworkers, they can monitor each other to stay healthy.
This education also helps show employees how much you prioritize avoiding heat illness and gives them the confidence to act when they recognize the symptoms of heat illness.
It’s harder for the body to shed excess heat in hotter conditions. This means that a worker’s body temperature will rise as they work, which leads to heat illness. To avoid this, people need regular breaks. The hotter the temperature and the harder of the work, the more breaks they need. It’s vital to get more breaks when people are adjusting to hotter conditions.
Give new employees more leeway to take additional breaks, and encourage employees to take more breaks when returning from vacation or illness. And when temperatures increase in the plant overall, schedule more breaks for all workers.
Breaks can be shorter when workers can cool more effectively, so providing a cool break area can reduce the impact this has on your plant. A portable evaporative cooler can be an easy way to create a cool break area for employees.
As temperatures increase, only sweat remains an effective cooling mechanism. This means that in hot conditions, your workers are losing a lot of water to sweat, and they need to replenish that water regularly.
When working under hot conditions, make sure employees have access to plenty of cool water and encourage them to drink at least a pint an hour. They should not substitute soda or other caffeinated drinks for water since these beverages can make you more dehydrated.
Another way to help your workers beat the heat is to adjust your work schedule. When the weather gets hot, you can schedule the most strenuous work in the morning before the plant gets too hot or move it to the graveyard shift if your plant is working around the clock.
If your manufacturing plant tends to see the heat climb, especially when the weather is hot outside, you must take steps to help your workers adjust to the hotter conditions. Otherwise, you risk not only heat illness for workers but reduced productivity and costly mistakes. Studies show that hot temperatures can reduce worker productivity by 30% and cause workers to make ten times as many mistakes.
Along with taking these steps, you can also work to ensure conditions don’t get too hot in your manufacturing plant with Portacool portable evaporative coolers. These efficient air coolers can be used to keep the temperature down in your manufacturing plant, provide spot cooling at the hottest workstations, or create a cool break area. Our large Jetstream™series of evaporative coolers are ideal for manufacturing applications.
These coolers are so effective that we employ them in our own plastics plant. In addition, metalworking plants have found that they’re effective at cooling and don’t contribute to increased rust or other problems.