Summer can be a particularly difficult season for both outdoor and factory workers. In addition to dealing with natural heat, employees like machine operators are exposed to heat emitted from the machines around them. Machine operators who work indoors at elevated temperatures can be as at risk of heat-related illnesses as employees who work directly in the sun. It is important for these employees to try to keep cool in hot environments and limit spikes in body temperature.
4 tips to help machine operators stay cool while working in the heat
Machine operators are responsible for maintaining their machinery, adjusting appropriate controls and ensuring their efficiency. But when they’re exposed to extreme heat on a consistent basis, their safety can be jeopardized. In fact, injuries can increase up to 15% in hot environments. Here’s how machine operators can try to stay cool in the heat and prevent heat-related illnesses in the first place:
- Practice proper acclimation — Sudden exposure to heat can easily shock a person’s body into a heat-related illness like heat stress and heatstroke. That is why machine operators should practice standard safety measures like acclimation. This process involves introducing a new worker to extreme heat at 20% intervals, one day at a time. This way, the employee’s body has time to get used to the hot environment before starting a full shift.
- Take frequent hydration breaks — Consistent hydration can help maintain machine operators’ core body temperatures. On the other hand, a net loss of bodily fluid can reduce an employee’s ability to tolerate heat. Dehydration can also exacerbate symptoms of heat-related illness. Taking hydration breaks in an air-conditioned area can help machine operators maintain their body temperature and limit their water loss. As an employer, it’s important that you ensure drinking fountains or water coolers are nearby and easily accessible throughout the workplace.
- Work in shorter shifts — Working long shifts in a hot factory or warehouse can take a toll on employees’ bodies and quickly lead to heat-related illness. During long shifts, employees have fewer chances to step away from their machines and cool down their overheated bodies. As such, their risk of developing heat-related illnesses and symptoms, like fatigue and lack of concentration, can increase. To help break up long working periods and exposure to consistent heat, machinery operators can take more frequent, shorter shifts. Their co-workers can rotate shifts with them to maintain productivity and momentum.
- Provide cooling locations — It is important for those who operate equipment outside in the heat, or indoors in high-temperature environments, to have a convenient place to take refuge from the environment and cool off. Air-conditioned offices, break rooms or even cooling huts close to the work site are all good solutions that will help keep employees from suffering heat-related illnesses. Additionally, it’s important to encourage the use of the cooling locations and include that in your safety protocols.
Work-Fit can help machinery operators stay cool in the heat this summer
Many machine operators may work indoors, but that doesn’t mean they’re immune to heat-related illnesses. Work-Fit can help machinery operators stay cool in their hot working environments and avoid overheating. Contact our team today for more information about our services and the many ways we can help.