When working in hot conditions, workers are at greater risk of heat stress—the risk of occupational illness and injury increases when working in extreme temperatures. Heatstroke, exhaustion from heat, and heat cramps or rash are possible symptoms of heat stress. From profuse sweating to dizziness and collapsing, there are many symptoms associated with this condition. Overheating causes the body to be under stress too.
In industries where workers are subjected to extreme temperatures and high humidity, inadequate ventilation, and heat-generating machines, heat-related health issues are significant. In addition, it has a direct impact on worker efficiency and overall productivity and safety in the workplace. During heat stress, the body loses electrolytes and water more rapidly. Present-day workplace conditions are quite inadequate, and climate change will only make things worse.
Heat disorders can affect some employees more than others. Heat stress can affect employees with conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, and diabetes, as well as those on medication. Too much alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers, and caffeine can contribute to heat stress.
Being a significant concern in terms of health and safety, it is crucial to understand and combat heat stress through heat stress measurement. Here are eight ways to avoid heat stress:
1) Do heat stress monitoring
A person working in a hot environment may experience fatigue, stroke, heat exhaustion, or even skin rashes without proper care. As a result, their concentration and physical performance may be affected. The mental performance of individuals who work in a hot environment declines rapidly. In fact, workplace safety is directly and indirectly affected by heat stress. People exposed repeatedly and for long periods to heat have a higher risk of developing heat-related illnesses.
To determine the level of heat stress in workplace, Compound Services provides indoor and outdoor temperature monitoring and heat stress monitoring services. Not only does it prevent loss of life, but heat stress assessment increases worker productivity, gives them more opportunities to deal with heat stress, ensures worker safety, and helps manage the maximum temperature at work.
2) Aware and train workers about heat stress
All workers should be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat stress to monitor themselves and their colleagues.
When workers work in hot environments, heat stress can cause serious health problems, increasing workplace accidents. It is common for employers and employees not to be aware of the dangers of heat stress. But along with regular Heat stress monitoring and Heat stress test, creating awareness through training is very crucial.
Heat stress training should focus on the following aspects:
- Understanding heat stress risks
- Identifying potential hazards
- Knowing first aid procedures and educating employees on heat stress prevention
From time to time, employers who are exposed to hot working environments and activities need to be made aware of them through awareness heat stress test, activities and guidelines.
3) Increase air circulation
Working in hot, poorly ventilated, or confined areas can result in inadequate airflow. It is recommended that the structure design allows adequate airflow. Several methods can be used to encourage better ventilation, including the placement of windows, shutters, and the design of the roof. By doing so, heat can be removed from the building.
Using mechanical controls, such as air conditioners, fans and adequate ventilation, it is possible to maintain the temperatures, increase air circulation and prevent hot working conditions.
4) Health monitoring of workers
Besides monitoring heat stress and heat stress test, it is crucial to monitor the health conditions of the workers and prevent heat stress before it produces severe consequences.
In order to provide workers with adequate working conditions, it is imperative that workers’ health and safety be monitored continuously, that accidents are reported, and that you work with your health and safety committee to develop a heat policy for your workplace.
5) Provide appropriate clothing
Wearing the right kind of clothing will enable air to circulate as well as allow heat and sweat to escape—both body temperature and discomfort increase when sweat cannot evaporate from the skin. Air can circulate freely through loose-fitting clothes, and light colours reflect heat and light. As a result, the employees will stay cooler. The synthetic fibres absorb sweat poorly and retain heat, which raises the body temperature. The skin breathes with natural fibres, which absorb sweat well.
Wearing clothing that’s ideal for extreme heat will help feel and perform better during the day.
6) Rest breaks in cool areas
It is important that people working in hot conditions rest in well-ventilated and cool areas as well as drink cool drinks. The best course of action is to seek urgent medical attention if the skin is extremely hot and dry to touch, even when no other symptoms are shown. Additionally, people taking medications and with other illnesses must be allowed more rest breaks in the cooler area.
7) Staying hydrated
Dehydration is a significant risk when working in hot weather. You can reduce the risk of dehydration by providing access to cool drinking water and encouraging water breaks frequently. Drinking water is the most effective way to stay hydrated. Keep in mind that thirst must first be satisfied before fluids can be replaced.
8) Scheduling work at cooler times of the day
If possible, schedule hot days for cooler times of the day and change work schedules to allow for work to be done on other days, at cooler hours, or out of peak UV hours. In short, decrease the amount of time spent on hot tasks.
As a result of multiple factors such as the nature of the task, the workplace environment, and the individuals involved, heat stress in workplace has no limit and cannot be measured through heat stress measurement.
Heat stress cannot be identified and managed solely based on a temperature reading and heat stress assessment. In order to accurately assess the risk of heat-related illness, job requirements, workplace conditions, and factors associated with the worker must be considered.
To actively combat this, Compound Services monitors heat stress at varying levels via various devices in order to assess heat stress and work conditions.