Summer is just around the corner, and manufacturing leaders need to think safety first — regardless of the season. Still, following some specific seasonal tips can go a long way toward keeping you and your employees safe on and off the manufacturing plant floor.
In addition to increased heat and humidity in many places, many manufacturers take time to enjoy vacations and increase activity levels during the warmer months. As a plant leader or manufacturing manager, following these simple summer safety recommendations can help you ensure you keep productivity high while not overworking yourself or your employees.
- Prepare for high or changing temperatures. If you dress for the sun but work in an air-conditioned plant, you’ve got to remember to dress for both — and encourage employees to do so as well. Bodies need time to adjust when moving between temperature changes, so layered clothing can be a safe bet. According to a Chronicle article, “Environments with high heat production, such as a manufacturing plant, require proper ventilation and cooling areas year-round. If you happen to find yourself feeling light-headed or faint, break to find an air source and fresh water to refuel.”
- Care for your body. You sweat more in higher temperatures, so give it a rest: Take regular breaks throughout the day to rest and hydrate, rather than waiting until a problem arises. Warmer weather also means you burn more calories — but rich, heavy lunches can make you sluggish. Be sure to listen to your body and give it the energy it needs.
- Have fun in the sun. Even incidental sun exposure on your walk from the plant to your vehicle can cause damage. Protect your skin with sunscreen or sunblock, a hat, and sunglasses, and don’t forget to bring your refillable water bottle so you can maintain hydration throughout the day — while also saving the planet.
- Take that vacation you’ve been working toward. You’ve worked hard in the plant all winter, but it can be difficult to leave projects or day-to-day endeavors to your employees. Take a break: You deserve to use your vacation time. Not only does it give you some time away from the plant and your work responsibilities but you can also use that time to reduce stress, reenergize yourself, and reinvigorate your passion for manufacturing.
- Stay safe. When you train your employees in company safety and have a working knowledge of first aid, you’ll be ready for anything. Be on the lookout for summer-specific signs of fatigue in yourself as well as your employees and co-workers since heat stroke can be deadly. Also, if you notice an area where safety could be improved in your plant, make it a priority to address it yourself or speak with someone who can help with the issue.
When you plan for seasonal workplace changes as you plan your summer vacation, you’ll be better prepared to keep yourself and your employees safe. In addition — even in warmer months — this preparation can lead to increased productivity as well as show your employees you care, enhancing communication and improving work relationships.