Heat illness is no joke; in fact, it can result in death. Heat illness doesn’t just impact employees who work outside. High temperature and humidity, as well as limited air movement in a building can all contribute to heat illness, especially if workers are moving around and/or undergoing physical exertion.
Using bulky protective clothing and equipment further complicates matters. In addition, certain machinery and electronic equipment will increase temperatures and subsequent cooling needs.
According to the OSHA technical manual, employers should maintain workplace temperatures in the range of 68 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit while humidity control should be in the range of 20 to 60 percent. Of course, indoor air temperature preference will vary from person to person. One worker may feel comfortable in 70 degrees F, while another reaches for a sweater and another breaks a sweat.
Giving employees some flexibility to change the temperature or give their input regarding the temperature is proven to improve workplace morale and increase productivity. On the other hand, if workers feel helpless to change the temperature and are regularly uncomfortable, chances are they will experience decreased job satisfaction.
When workplace satisfaction goes down, along with employee comfort, productivity goes down as well. As a result, you may start to see your bottom line negatively impacted.
4 Ways to Keep Workers Cool & Comfortable on the Job
1. Keep workers hydrated
Set up water stations so that workers remain hydrated throughout the workday. Remind everyone to drink adequate water, as dehydration will increase the risk of heat-related illness.
2. Maintain a well-ventilated office
Make sure that the office is well-ventilated and gets a nice breeze, stagnant air makes a space feel much hotter and more uncomfortable.
3. Install portable spot coolers in hot areas
Even if your office is equipped with a central AC, certain pockets or rooms of the building may not stay as cool as others. This might have to do with certain equipment or machinery that heats up the space, or your AC might not be powerful enough to cool every corner of the building. This is where a portable spot cooler can be extremely handy to maintain comfortable temperatures.
4. Encourage feedback
Let employees voice their opinions about the temperature in the workspace and strive to meet the needs of the majority. Remember, it’s better for some workers to wear a sweater than it is to expect overheated workers to sweat it out.
Areas to Pay Special Attention To
Certain spaces within offices tend to get much hotter than others. These areas require certain precautions and additions, such as:
- Boiler rooms
- Commercial kitchens
- Food canneries
- Chemical plants
- Server rooms
Monitor the temperature in all rooms within your facility, making sure they all stay within the recommended range.
The Importance of Temperature & Humidity Control
An overheated space can negatively impact equipment and electronics as well, leading to more issues with your bottom line. For instance, if your server room or computer room gets too hot, the risk of a fire will increase. In addition, if equipment becomes overheated it can short out and even break, thus leading to the loss of important data.
Humidity control is equally important. High humidity levels can corrode devices, short circuit systems and so forth.
Staying on top of temperature and humidity is far more affordable than dealing with sick and disgruntled employees, as well as broken equipment and lost data.
Need help maintaining more comfortable temperatures? Turn to your friends at Cooling Power!