Working in maintenance in the summertime adds yet another challenge to your already rigorous job. It is critical for technicians to be healthy and safe while working; maintenance management personnel need to monitor the temperature and be sure that techs are taking every precaution to avoid heat-related illnesses. These issues could first appear as minor as muscle cramps and they can become more severe and lead to heat exhaustion or even heat stroke.
Your maintenance management team can take several steps to ensure the well being of your staff during the hot summer months. Uniforms are important to maintain a professional appearance but be sure that they are loose fitting, made from a breathable fabric such as cotton and are light colors when possible. Also, allowing team members to wear a hat or ball cap will help to shade and protect their heads and faces from the sun and heat. In addition, applying cool water to a hat helps to cool the head and lower body temperature.
Remind technicians that they need to be drinking plenty of water and sports drinks to replenish electrolytes as well as avoiding caffeine and sugary drinks which increase the risk of dehydration. Also warn techs that certain medications could cause them to be more sensitive to heat-related illness and to check with a medical professional if they have any concerns about medications. Meals of cold fruit or other cool items will help combat the effects of excessive heat as well. Freezing water bottles is also a good way to have cold water and a means to cool your body when working outdoors. Others tips to quickly cool down include keeping a spray bottle of ice and water nearby to cool your neck, face and head, wrapping a cool wet towel around your neck and storing sunscreen in a cooler or refrigerator.
There are also a few steps that management can take to assist their team in working more efficiently through the hot summer months. Using maintenance management software to schedule work projects in the cooler hours of the early morning or evening can make a big difference not only to the techs but also in the quality of work that they can provide. Excessive heat causes lack of concentration and lower productivity. Adjusting the work schedule can offer you better quality results and ensure that your staff is not at risk for heat-related illness. In addition, providing a shaded or cooled area to work in can be a great help. This reduces the heat stress on your staff, keeps their energy at a higher level and also is greatly appreciated by your team.
Working in hot conditions is just a part of working the maintenance field. But there are several precautions that can and should be taken to avoid any heat-related illness or accidents. Maintenance management software can allow you to schedule tasks during more optimal working conditions and manage each team member’s time spent in excessively hot conditions. Techs and management need to work together to ensure that there are no heat related incidents during the summer months.