Heat can impact many workers every day, not just because of the outside temperatures and direct exposure to the sun, but also because of the nature of the job. Welding, for example, exposes workers to high heat, as a welding tool can reach up to 6,500°F. To protect workers from sparks, debris and the heat of their tools, welders wear safety gear, which is heavy and further increases the body temperature. This, combined with hot outside temperatures, is a high heat risk scenario. Protecting welders from heat injury is a serious concern.
Heat injury results in symptoms of cramping, nausea, loss of consciousness, shock and dehydration. Even death can occur. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in a 10-year period there were 3,442 deaths from extreme heat. To protect welders in an environment where heat is exacerbated by equipment or tools, employers need to have a heat safety plan in place. This plan allows you to be proactive in your approach to worker heat safety.
Heat Reduces Performance and Productivity
Heat makes workers slower and more apt to making mistakes. Much research has been completed related to these scenarios. In a review of existing research published by the Ergonomics Journal, researchers found subjects in temperatures of 90°F or higher had a 15% reduction in performance versus normal conditions. The study also uncovered a negative influence on perceptual and attention-oriented duties with temperatures over 80°F. All of this can reflect on your bottom line and eventually cut into your profits.
Protect your Workers and your Bottom Line
A heat safety plan helps mitigate the risks of high exposure to heat. Consider these practices:
- Cold water should be readily available. Regular water breaks every 15 to 20 minutes are recommended.
- Set up a “cool zone” where workers can recharge.
- Schedule work shifts outside of the highest heat levels of the day, if possible.
- Monitor workers for signs of heat illness (dizziness, heavy sweating, muscle cramps, nausea, etc.)
- Institute a buddy system for workers so everyone has someone looking out for him or her.
- Educate your team and keep up with the OSHA safety regulations applicable to your industry.
- Use mobile cooling fans designed to cool inside and outside areas.
Advanced Mobile Cooling Fans Make a Difference in the Heat
Protecting welders from heat injury should be the goal of any occupational heat safety plan. Using mobile cooling fans can help. The Power Breezer from Breezer Mobile Cooling takes the dangerous edge off the heat for your team of welders. The advantage of the Power Breezer is in the design. It is portable and rugged, engineered to cool outdoors or partially covered areas. It doesn’t get people or equipment wet, which is critical in welding. Our team of heat safety experts is ready to come to your facility to help you evaluate your heat risks and provide you with customized heat safety plan. Give us a call at 844-233-5673 to set up your free heat risk assessment.