By z4028651230, Aug 23 2016 12:31PM
So; with the forecast and much-anticipated heat wave now upon us, it's fair to say that not all people are looking forward to it. Those who have to work in hot and humid conditions will be suffering rather badly and being too hot can be very much like being too cold; it's debilitating, demoralising, uncomfortable, unproductive and, in extreme cases, potentially dangerous. This is true for staff and customers alike.
What is heat stress then? Stress occurs when the body's own means to control its core temperature starts to fail. The H.S.E says heat stress may affect a company at any time of the year but there is an increased risk during the warmer months of summer. This is because it's not just the season which can affect the human body and cause Heat Stress; other contributing factors are also Humidity, Work Rate and Clothing, as well as air temperature.
Ok; so what are the effects of Heat Stress? Well, like many things, individuals have different tolerances and thresholds and different circumstances will affect different people in different ways. Typical symptoms are; heat rash, muscle cramps, moist skin, an inability to concentrate, fainting and also heat exhaustion. An individual may also experience fatigue, headache, giddiness and nausea. In more serious cases, one may be affected by heat stroke, including confusion, convulsions and - in extreme cases - loss of consciousness.
What can be done about Heat Stress? Like all things, prevention is better than the cure. If working practices can be changed to take in to account the hotter conditions, then they should be. Sensible procedures shold be put in place regards staff uniforms or dress standards; for example blazers, long sleeve shirts, ties and long woollen skirts are not ideal! If barriers can be put in place to block or reduce radiant heat or solar gain, such as window tinting or screens, then this is also a good idea. Creating air movement, via fans or natural ventilation, is a low cost option and often of immediate benefit. Engineered solutions such as ventilation systems and air conditioning systems can offer a controlled and measurable approach to reducing the temperature and removing heat stress.
Most offices and buildings can have modern air conditioning systems installed these days and we'd be only too happy to assist you with a design and proposal for your particular application.