HVLS Fans Help Prevent Heat Stress
Hot summer days sound great if you’re planning a cookout or a day at the beach. Unfortunately, it’s not so welcoming to the hard-working folks who spend their days working in hot environments. Many employees are put at risk for a variety of heat-related illnesses, especially in the extreme heat of the summer months. HVLS fans are a simple solution to help keep people cool while working in hot environments.
Hidden Costs of Heat Stress
Comfort isn’t the only thing sacrificed when employees are exposed to excessive heat. Fogged-up safety glasses, sweaty palms, dizziness and reduced mental capacity resulting from heat stress can all lead to accidents on the job, with potentially tragic consequences.
Between 2012 and 2016 there were 159 occupational deaths in the United States caused by exposure to extreme heat. The National Safety Council reported that in 2015, 90% of the fatalities occurred between June and September. Those are startling numbers. Consequences resulting from heat-related trauma isn’t always fatal. In 2015 alone, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were 2,830 non-fatal illnesses resulting in days away from work. With the proper temperature control, however, you’ll be able to help prevent these heat-related unfortunate events.
What Can Help Prevent Heat Stress?
Environmental factors, like air temperature, air flow and humidity, can be adjusted to help the human body maintain a normal temperature and control heat stress. For indoor work environments, one recommendation from OSHA is to increase ventilation and use fans to increase air speed over workers. This will help improve the heat exchange between skin surface and the air (unless the air temperature is higher than the skin temperature). OSHA also recommends keeping fans on a Preventative Maintenance Program (add link) so there is no downtime when they are needed most.
How Do HVLS Fans Lower the Effective Temperature?
An air speed between two and three miles per hour creates an evaporative cooling sensation of 7°F to 11°F. A warehouse with an effective temperature of 84°F can be dropped to 73°F by adding HVLS fans.
Rite-Hite HVLS fans can help prevent heat stress and create a safer working environment. The additional benefits of providing a safe and comfortable work environment include:
- Increased Productivity: One study concluded that with just a 2 percent loss of body weight from dehydration, mental awareness decreases and can lead to increased work-related accidents. A 23 percent reduction in reaction time occurred with a 4 percent body fluid loss (Gopinathan PM, Pichan G, Sharma VM).
- Reduced Costs: OSHA’s Safety Pays calculator estimates one heat-related illness can cost up to $50,000.
- Improved Employee Morale and Reduced Turnover: HVLS fans create gentle breezes that cover 22,000 square feet, moving air up to 85 feet in all directions. HVLS fans can help keep everyone more comfortable this summer.
- Adhering to OSHA Compliance: OSHA’s General Duty Clause states that an employer has the obligation to provide a workplace free of hazardous conditions that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm; this includes heat-related hazards.
Sweating Slab Syndrome
Temperature variances between the warm air and cool concrete floors often produces condensation on the floor surface. This is referred to as Sweating Slab Syndrome and can become very dangerous for pedestrians and fork trucks working on these slick surfaces. HVLS fans not only help keep everyone cool but also help reduce moisture buildup on walking working surfaces.
Would you like to schedule a free HVLS application review? Your local Rite-Hite representative can identify factors that to help make valuable airflow improvements in your facility.
Start cooling your place next week! Fans ship in just 3 to 5 days. Contact your Rite-Hite HVLS Expert