When summer approaches, the talk turns to surviving another season of sweltering temperatures. But in reality, high heat conditions exist year-round in many industries, and the threat of heat-related illnesses is very real for employees who work in them.
Heat stress occurs when the body is not able to balance the heat generated by strenuous physical labor and a hot work environment. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says employees at highest risk are those who spend a substantial portion of their shift outdoors, working in fields such as construction, agriculture, aviation, and oil and gas. However, heat stress can also strike those who work indoors in plants and factories, warehouses and foundries.
The signs, symptoms and consequences
Heat stress can set in before the person realizes what’s happening. If the symptoms aren’t recognized and treated quickly, heat exhaustion can escalate to heat stroke and the consequences can be deadly. Symptoms can range from muscle cramps to heat exhaustion, with symptoms that include rapid heartbeat and breathing, dizziness, fatigue and nausea. The most serious and potentially fatal condition is heat stroke, which can raise the body’s temperature to a dangerous 104°F or higher within 15 minutes. It can lead to confusion, seizures and loss of consciousness, and requires emergency medical attention.
Jobsite safety is also a serious concern in high heat conditions. When the temperature rises, so does the potential for costly mistakes, workplace accidents and grievances. Productivity suffers too. For every 2 degrees the temperature rises above 77°F, productivity drops two percent, according to University of California and Columbia University researchers. Projects can fall behind schedule, impacting the bottom line.
Power Breezer®: taking the stress out of heat stress
Experienced supervisors in many industries, especially those with outdoor job sites, create heat management plans to help protect their employees’ health and safety, and keep projects on track. A growing number include Power Breezer evaporative cooling units in their heat management plans. The industry’s most technologically advanced mobile air conditioning unit, Power Breezer is engineered to cool outdoors and in partially-covered areas. Its oscillating head combined with a powerful atomizer cools up to 3,000 square feet by as much as 27°F while keeping people and sensitive equipment dry.
To learn how the Power Breezer evaporative cooler fan can help your workforce stay cool, safe and productive in the hottest conditions, visit powerbreezer.com.