Have you ever wondered about work conditions and how temperatures affect them? Depending on your industry, heat can play a significant role in your labor cost; in fact, it has the potential to increase your labor cost by over 50%! Read on to learn more about the effects of heat on your bottom line, and how you can take measures to handle it to ensure your workforce is properly prepared and comfortable during their working hours.
Heat in the Workplace: Temps Rise and Productivity Drops
Heat is never a good thing in work environments. Extreme temperatures are uncomfortable, however, they are known to impact overall productivity, efficiency, and safety in the workplace. According to research from NASA and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, productivity begins dropping once temperatures hit 71℉. As temperatures climb, productivity falls, and once temps reach 77℉, productivity begins reducing by 1% for each degree. At 90℉, productivity is reduced by 29%. By the time the temperature hits 95℉, productivity is then reduced by 45%. At this rate, the average person performing just mild physical labor can expect to collapse from exhaustion in less than 45 minutes.
Summer Absenteeism Due to Heat
In professions such as manufacturing, warehousing, logistics, and transportation, the summer months see the greatest amount of absenteeism with workers calling in s
ick or leaving their jobs outright. Just in the fields of logistics and warehousing, estimates from the U.S. Department of Labor have found that absenteeism rises 44% when temperatures get hot. This is indicative of how difficult working in these conditions can be for employees in these industries.
Here at Power Breezer, we have first-hand accounts from our logistics customers stating that in the summer months, the turnover rate for trailer-loading personnel can be so fierce, some new-hires don’t last a week. This equates to a significant loss for these companies, with costs that tally up to around an extra $10/ hour, per employee.
How This Translates to Profit and Loss
Consider the math behind the loss of productivity from employees working in 90℉ heat. If you have an employee who is paid $15/ hour, and their production is impacted at a loss of 29%, or costs you an increase of 29% due to the difficult work conditions, this equates to an added $4.35/ hour. If this worker puts in 40 hours weekly/ 160 hours monthly, you are losing almost $700 per month, on just one employee.
The stakes are even greater if your workers are subjected to working in 95℉ temperatures. If the loss at this temperature is 45%, this comes out to an extra $6.75 per hour (at a rate of $15/ hour) that you are paying additionally, per employee. At 40 hours/ week or 160 hours/ monthly, this results in over $1,000 per employee, per month you are shelling out.
The Impact of Heat-Related Illnesses
In addition to the loss of productivity found among workers subjected to high heat conditions in the workplace, heat-related illness is also a major concern. Injuries and illnesses on the job are known to increase during the summer months, and there is a correlation between the rise in temperatures and the uptick in heat-related medical situations. In fact, half of all injuries that occur during the summer months are attributed to heat-related instances. Among these types of illnesses/ injuries are heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be dangerous and even deadly. Furthermore, according to data published by OSHA examining their four-year injury database, July and August have injury rates 300% over the baseline.
How Power Breezer Evaporative Cooling Changes the Game
For companies seeking solutions to the issues presented by summertime heat, utilizing evaporative coolers may be the game-changer needed. Particularly for those in the manufacturing, logistics, trailer-loading, and warehousing sectors, these industrial evaporative air coolers are powerful enough to bring down air temperatures 27℉. This makes them phenomenal for industrial environments affected by heat and summer temperatures, ensuring employees are kept comfortable and cool, even in physically-demanding situations like loading trailers or warehouses.