How Manufacturing Ventilation Saves Lives
Thousands suffer from workplace heat illness every year in the U.S. Heat illness is a serious condition that can lead to death. The risk is real, with OSHA reporting 30 heat-related deaths on average annually since 2003. Manufacturing ventilation decreases the risk of this threat.
Heat-related deaths are preventable. Employers can minimize the risk to employees by providing a safe indoor and outdoor environment. A heat-safety plan is also essential to protect your staff.
Storee Construction will perform an analysis of your facility to ensure the manufacturing ventilation, layout and design minimize the risk of an overheated work environment.
Which Workers Are at Risk for Heat Illness?
Workers in certain industries are at higher risk from the heat. The manufacturing, construction, agricultural and health sectors are among those most affected by workplace heat illness .
The Midwest can get hot in summer. Average highs for summer months in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma range from the high 70s to the 90s. These temperatures don’t tell the whole story. When summer heat conspires with hot manufacturing processes, heavy safety gear and physical activity, the dangers escalate.
How Manufacturing Ventilation Improves Safety
A cooler work environment reduces the risk of heat illness and death. One of the best ways to lower a plant’s temperature is by increasing air flow.
A well-designed ventilation system maximizes air flow transfer throughout an industrial facility and can drop temperatures by 20 degrees.
Plants, warehouses and other industrial or commercial buildings can be constructed or retrofitted to reduce the risk of heat.
It takes more than roof vents to lower temperatures in a manufacturing plant. Industrial ventilation must take many factors into account. An air-flow system should consider the following:
- Manufacturing processes
- Worker proximity to heat generation
- Facility physical dimensions
- Structural considerations
- Factory traffic patterns
- Cross ventilation sources
- Prevailing wind directions
- Required ventilation rates
- Utility costs
In addition to ventilation, other measures can help reduce indoor heat:
- Place reflective shields to redirect radiant heat.
- Insulate hot surfaces, such as walls around furnaces.
- Install local exhaust ventilation in areas of high moisture and heat.
- Repair steam leaks.
- Construct air-conditioned break rooms.
Why Is It Important to Have a Heat-Safety Plan?
Workers suffering from heat exhaustion affect the safety and morale of other employees. Aside from the obligation to provide a safe working environment for people, businesses lose money and production time when workers become ill.
Heat exhaustion affects people’s ability to think, make decisions and stay alert. More accidents happen when employees are suffering from debilitating heat. Heat stroke kills, but before it does, it shuts down a person’s vital organs. Workers’ hearts, livers, kidneys and muscles may all suffer damage from heat stroke.
An emergency plan should outline what to do if someone shows signs of heat stroke. The plan may include training for supervisors and employees. OSHA has a number of resources to help your company educate workers about recognizing, preventing and treating heat illness.
Storee Construction: The Safety Experts
Storee will work with you to design ventilation systems that make your facility safer. Don’t let the heat beat up your workers.
Last updated April 25, 2016.