The Negative Safety Impact When Using Fans at Temps Exceeding 90F

fans in the heat

Working in temperatures over 90F degrees can be extremely dangerous, especially if physical work is being performed. Not only does heat impact productivity due to the immense discomfort, but workers are at risk for heat-related illnesses and heat stroke. Continue reading for more information on using fans in the workplace for cooling, and what you can use to provide effective heat mitigation for your associates.

Electric Fans: Blowing Hot Air

If you are using just fans to keep your workers cool, you are leaving them at risk. Standard electric fans have limited functionality; they blow the hot air around and this does nothing to reduce temperatures. This is especially evident in dry heat conditions, where electric fans have been found to produce no cooling effects. Therefore, they can cause the body to work even harder to try to keep cool. As a result, people working in these environments become even more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. For electric fans to be somewhat effective, conditions should be very humid, per a study published by Scientific American. However, even still, these fans will produce only minimal cooling potential and will not reduce air temperatures to safe levels.

For example, if the temperature of a loading dock is 105F degrees, and the trailer is 115F degrees, and workers are frantically performing physical labor in these conditions, they are in extreme danger. Considering an average workday is eight hours, no one should be expected to withstand this. Fans that provide no cooling in these conditions do not reduce temperatures, so workers’ body temperatures can reach very high levels. Heat-related illnesses become even more likely, and the body can reach extreme internal temperatures.

Electric Fans Offer Unreliable Cooling

The EPA recommends electric fans to be used in temperatures under 95F degrees for best effectiveness. Loading docks commonly well exceed this. According to a study done by the University of Sydney, the effectiveness of electric fans was tested to determine how well they cool the body. What the researchers found was that electric fans cooled body temperature more effectively in hot and humid conditions, in contrast to hot and dry conditions. This is because the body uses sweat to reduce body temperature, however, in hot and dry conditions, the body tends to sweat less. In dry heat, the body is designed to hold onto as much water as possible. With less sweat, there is no evaporative cooling happening in the body. This puts the body at risk for various heat-related illnesses, including hyperthermia. Pair these conditions with a fan blowing the dry, hot air around, no cooling is accomplished.

Why Heat-Related Illnesses Are a Major Concern

Heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke are extremely dangerous. If they are not tended to immediately, they can lead to death. In the workplace, this is an even greater concern because workers should not be forced to endure unsafe conditions. In the event of severe illness or death, the employer may be found liable, which can lead to severe consequences. Because heat-related illnesses are entirely preventable, employers should utilize every method in their means to ensure a safe workplace if excessive heat is a concern.

Power Breezer Fans: Cooling Done Right

While most people assume air conditioning is the only option for powerful temperature reduction and cooling, this is no longer the case. Many alternatives exist, and some provide even better results than air conditioning in terms of portability, energy efficiency, and the cost of cooling.

Among these options are atomized evaporative cooling fans, manufactured by Power Breezer. Used by the USA Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Military, and many professional athletic associations throughout the U.S., these machines are used to keep our servicemen and women, as well as professional athletes safe and cool during all varieties of training exercises and mission-critical tasks. These industrial-quality fans produce intense cooling that can drop even outdoor temperatures by up to 27F degrees. They are especially efficient in dry-heat conditions, offering cooling potential standard electric fans cannot.

If Power Breezer systems can keep military members and pro athletes cool and safe, this is an excellent example of how powerful and effective they are for heat mitigation in physically demanding work environments.

Working, especially performing physical labor in high heat conditions is very dangerous. If you are a business owner, supervisor, or manager in a work environment that exposes your associates to temperatures over 90F and you are using basic electric fans for cooling, please be aware that there are powerful, effective alternatives. Options, such as Power Breezer atomized evaporative cooling fans can be used to reduce temperatures in efficient and cost-effective ways in many work environments such as trailers, loading docks, warehouses, among many other commercial settings susceptible to high heat.