Outdoor work can get unbearable in the summer. As the temperature climbs, the stress of outdoor work at places like construction sites, road work sites, farms, and oil and gas refineries can all become unbearable and unproductive. They can even become dangerous. To protect employees and keep them working, it’s essential to do what you can to keep your workspace cool over the summer.
Whenever you can, try to provide shade for workers. Sun adds heat to the body, but it also turns everything it touches into a heat source. Working in the sun is like installing a heater in all the clothing, hand tools, and surfaces. So if you can provide shade for workers, do it.
This always works, but it might not be as noticeable an effect when it gets very hot.
Workers’ bodies lose heat partly by exchanging it with the air. But when the air is still, the hot air around their body doesn’t mix with the cooler air and creates a layer of hot air around every person that keeps them from cooling effectively. It also reduces the effectiveness of sweating.
In lower temperatures, a breeze ensures that the body has a constant supply of cool air to exchange heat with. When possible, try not to obstruct the natural breezes that pass through the workspace. When workers do have to work in enclosed or obstructed areas, create a breeze for them with a fan to improve cooling and sweating.
The temperature at your workspace will naturally vary with the time of day. The temperature usually drops overnight, meaning the early morning is usually the best time to do strenuous work.
However, sometimes the progress of shade, regular afternoon thundershowers, or the development of breezes can make other times of day more favorable. Know what time your workspace is likely to be coolest and take advantage of this.
Plants have a natural cooling mechanism: they evaporate water from their leaves to cool themselves off. This not only cools the plant, but it also cools the air around them. If you have some control over your workspace, try to plant greenery there.
If you’re on a job site, try to locate crafting sites, meeting areas, and break areas around greenery, and preferably in the shade of trees.
If you have a trailer for management or support staff, it likely has air conditioning. This works well in a confined area, but it doesn’t work for keeping an outdoor workspace cool. Instead, use an evaporative cooler for outdoor workspaces. An evaporative cooler can drop the heat as much as 30 degrees Fahrenheit with just a single pass.
This means that workers are still getting a significant cooling benefit as they work even if you can’t trap the cool air. These coolers can keep the air moving with powerful fans so their effects can be felt hundreds of feet away from the cooler itself. That lets you improve conditions for people working on a large job site with a small number of evaporative coolers.
Evaporative coolers usually just need a standard outlet and a source of water to function, so they’re easy to set up and move as your work moves to different parts of the road or field.
If you are looking to combat the terrible heat at your workspace this summer, Portacool evaporative coolers are a great choice. They can provide significant cooling for large workspaces with an easy set up and teardown and don’t require special equipment or supplies.