Global warming? Maybe. But there’s no denying that hotter-than-expected temperatures can cause productivity at your company to take a nose-dive. Research shows that employees are more fatigued and less productive during extended periods of hot weather—either in part because they don’t have temperature controls (like air conditioning) at home, or because their working environment is directly impacted by the weather (like outdoors workers). And when productivity dips, so do your profits.
So what can you do to help employees handle less-than-ideal temperatures?
Five ways to beat the heat for employees
If your employees work outside, this can be trickier than indoors. But you can take the following tips from OSHA to help your employees handle extreme temperatures, while staying safe and healthy:
- Water, rest and shade. It’s critical for employers to provide these three things to employees to help them handle heat stress and avoid heat illness. Provide plenty of water, encourage regular breaks to rest in the shade.
- Allow time to acclimate. Workers new to working in the heat will need time to adjust. Allow them to gradually increase workloads as they get used to the heat and build up a tolerance.
- Train workers on prevention. Working smart is the main way to stay safe and healthy when working in the heat. Heat-related illness can affect anyone, regardless of age, health or physical condition. Train your workers to dress properly, drink cool water even if they aren’t thirsty, rest for long enough to recover from the heat, take breaks in a shaded area, and watch out for each other.
- Keep an eye on your workers. While they’re watching each other, you should also have an eye out for behavior that signals heat-related illness. This includes: headache, nausea, weakness, dizziness, heavy sweating, increased body temperature, odd thinking or behavior, slurred speech, seizures or loss of consciousness.
- Take immediate action. If an employee is showing signs of heat illness, take immediate action. Call 9-1-1. Cool the person off in the shade with water or ice. And stay with the worker until help arrives.
Train your employees to stay safe
The most important way to help your employees stay safe is through proper training. If you need help getting employees trained, contact your recruiter to see about training options they might offer. And if you need a recruiter, contact Wood Personnel to learn more!