The human body is like an engine, constantly producing heat and energy with many different processes available for operating in a hot environment. Although comfort can be subjective – dangerous heat conditions are not. Humans have limitations when it comes to heat tolerance, and it’s important to keep operating conditions in the workplace within acceptable levels for maximum comfort, efficiency, and productivity.
The actual term “Thermal Comfort” is a description of the state of mind of a person in terms of whether they feel hot or cold.
A number of factors can affect thermal comfort by default such as where you are in the world, the climate, elevation, and more. If you ask most people who have lived in both Florida and Arizona, for instance, they will tell you Arizona may be hotter but its dry air is more comfortable thanks to lack of humidity.
A human being can be thermal neutral when the excess heat generated by metabolism is allowed to dissipate, keeping an equilibrium with the surrounding environment. The main factors to affect thermal neutrality are:
- Clothing Insulation
- Metabolic Rate
- Air Temperature
- Mean Radiant Temperature
- Relative Humidity
- Air Speed
- Activity Level
- Psychological expectations
- Age, Size, Weight, Fitness Level
Why is Thermal Comfort Important?
In order to increase overall productivity and morale among people in the workplace, managing thermal comfort can help. Anyone who does work in an uncomfortable cold or hot environment is more likely to make mistakes and produce less efficiently as their performance deteriorates. Here are a few examples of how thermal comfort affects people on the job:
- They take more breaks, work shorter shifts, and don’t perform as well in hot environments
- People may get lazy when it comes to wearing personal protective gear, increasing safety hazards
- Concentration and accuracy are directly affected, which increase the number of mistakes made on the job
How To Improve Thermal Comfort
In order to create the right working environment for those exposed to extreme heat or cold, several steps can be taken.
- Provide efficient cooling for workers exposed to higher temperatures
- Power Breezer atomized evaporative coolers can provide efficient cooling in most environments
- Monitor weather conditions
- Provide plenty of drinking water
- Make sure people are wearing appropriate clothing