Heat & productivity
Industrial facilities aren’t typically built with the comfort of workers as a top priority. High ceilings, large open spaces, and sizeable mechanical obstructions can make cooling manufacturing and warehousing spaces difficult. Uncomfortable working conditions lead to heat-related illnesses and decreased productivity, which negatively affect the bottom line of the business. When working conditions become distracting and debilitating to workers, personal comfort must be addressed to regain lost productivity.
Defining heat stress
Although often overlooked as a serious problem, heat stress is a condition that can result in potentially fatal heat strokes, as well as heat rash, exhaustion, and cramps. When temperatures and humidity rise, the body’s ability to cool itself decreases, severely affecting worker efficiency.
According to the Center for the Built Environment, temperature and air quality are two of the most important factors when considering productivity. OSHA standards indicate temperatures of 100.4 degrees F and above are dangerous for workers, while air temperatures that exceed 95 degrees F significantly increase the heat load on the body.
Hot working conditions pose a threat not only to employee health, but also to the health of a business. Uncomfortable working conditions can eat into profits by decreasing worker productivity. Studies indicate an average 2 percent reduction in work performance per 1.8 degree F temperature rise when the temperature is above 77 degree F. While this may not seem detrimental on an individual basis, this drop in employee productivity can add up to huge profit loss across a company.