controlling workplace temperatures

A comfortable temperature must be maintained for workers in the workroom. The law must be regulated according to the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Workroom temperature should be about 16 degrees Celsius or to be set at a reasonable comfort for workers. Humidity, air velocity and radiant temperature must be taken into account. Reasonable workplace temperatures also depend on work activity and environmental conditions.

When working with chilled foods, for example, there should be warm workstations within a workroom or protective thermal clothing and warm rest facilities. For working in chillers around zero degrees Celsius, suitable clothing and rest breaks are all thats required. In blast freezers of -30oC, however, thermal clothing is of no use, so very frequent breaks to ambient temperature rooms are critical. If breaks are not taken regularly, and, there is continual exposure to lower temperatures, one may develop risks to their health. These include respiratory conditions, asthma and cardiovascular disorders. Walk-in refrigeration units should have doors that open from the inside and be well lit to avoid entrapment. Alarms should also be fitted in freezer units. Work in bakeries, and other similar hot industries can involve exposure to high temperatures. Fans and increased ventilation may be used in these workrooms for local cooling. Protective clothing in hot workrooms include ice vests, or air/water fed suits. There must also be adequate rest breaks and task rotation.

Thermal comfort is where the mind is happy with the thermal environment. But it is subjective to each individual. So, thermal comfort is very difficult to define. It cannot be measured by air temperature alone, but, by the number of employees happy within the work environment. Working in extreme temperatures can be hazardous, for example, people may take short cuts to get out of cold environments and a workers’ ability to concentrate may be nauseated by the uncomfortable temperatures they are in. These discomforts can cause accidents. The employer must ensure a proper risk assessment has been carried out to mitigate against these risks. Workers may adapt strategies to help their comfort levels in extreme temperatures i.e remove clothing, change posture and mov to cooler locations. The problems arises when the choice is not there, and, workers cannot adapt any longer to work room temperature.


Sources   hse   wikipedia

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