While you may think that heat stress prevention is something you only need to think about in warmer climates or during the summer months, thousands of employees are subject to heat stress every day. As an employer, heat illness prevention is something you should always be thinking about, and here at active-workwear.co.uk, we have a variety of items that can protect everyone in your workplace from heat stress. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about fighting heat stress in the workplace.
What is Heat Stress?
Before we go any further, it’s important for you to fully understand what is considered to be heat stress. Heat stress is when your body is unable to keep its internal temperature at a figure that’s below 99.7° F (37.6° C). When your body temperature climbs too high and reaches 104°, in just 30 minutes, you might experience brain damage or even die. Heat stress can cause heat rash, cramps, exhaustion, and heat stroke. While there are many environmental factors that can cause these issues, it’s important to also remember that weight, blood pressure, age, and medication may change how much you are impacted by the heat.
Indoor Work vs Outdoor WorkMany individuals think heat stress prevention is something that’s only associated with outdoor work, but for individuals working indoors with hot machines, this is just as likely to happen. However, with the majority of construction jobs sending their employees outdoors each day at least once, whether that’s to work at heights or for another project, they’ll need to ensure they are fully equipped with a Portwest cooling vest during this time. In the summer, the temperatures continue to rise, and the chances of heat stress are much more likely. On top of that, individuals who work outdoors in the summer are more likely to develop skin cancer, which is why Portwest workwear for the heat is so important.
Heading back indoors, indoor work can be just as dangerous in the summer, as many buildings lack air conditioning or any real air flow. You’ll find your workplace can soon become a dangerously high temperature, especially in refineries, mills, or bakeries. When you are using equipment that requires heavy PPE or Portwest hi vis jackets, you’ll find these layers soon add up and leave you sweating throughout the day.
How Can You Prevent Heat Stress?
The easiest way to prevent heat stress is with water, rest, and shade. If your employees are working outside in the sun in the middle of the day, ensure they are getting shade and keeping hydrated where possible. We encourage you to offer your team evaporative cooling products, such as a Portwest cooling vest, which help to draw heat away from the body in the middle of the day. You may also want to consider having a damp towel to hand, which you can place on your head to lower your temperature.
Regardless of whether you are working indoors or outdoors, you need to keep hydrated throughout the day. As a business owner, you should always be offering your employees access to water so that there’s no excuse for them feeling dehydrated. Dehydration often results in heat illnesses, so offer fresh water throughout your building that’s easy to access on a hot day.
Shade and Shelter
When working outdoors in hot and sunny locations, such as on a construction site, shade and shelter are critical for your team. If you can’t find a natural place with shade, offer them a pop-up shelter or umbrellas that they can stand under to get out of the sun. Another way to increase the shade they are receiving is with sun protection hats, Portwest workwear, and sunglasses, which can offer you all-day protection from the hot temperatures.
As we mentioned earlier, another risk of working outdoors all day is skin cancer. You don’t want your team members to get burnt while they are doing their regular job, and for that reason, you should always have sunscreen at various locations around your job site. Even if your staff are working indoors, they can be exposed to high levels of UV rays and should be wearing sunscreen every day. Encourage your team to reapply this throughout the day to minimise the chance of being burnt.
Heat stress prevention is something that companies often overlook today but is needed throughout the year. Both indoor work and outdoor work require heat stress prevention to help avoid any of your team becoming seriously ill after spending too much time in the heat. By following these simple tips listed above, you can protect your team throughout the hot summer months and when working around hot equipment. Offer your team the breaks they need to recuperate throughout the day, and you’ll be playing your part in avoiding any heat stress-related illnesses.
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