Heat Safety in Manufacturing

An estimated 20,000 deaths a year in the United States can be traced to extreme heat, and it’s getting hotter each year. How can you keep your team safe and healthy in extremely hot weather?

Set up your environment for heat safety

In hot weather, workers need to drink plenty of fluids. Make sure that cool, clean water is readily available. You should also be sure that there is a restroom nearby and that there is no penalty for using it. Workers who try not to drink too much water for fear of needing a bathroom break can be in danger on hot days.

Control the ambient temperature, and keep in mind that machines often create and dissipate heat into the surrounding air. It may not be hot in the office, but workers on the line may be more physically active, closer to other people, and in the way of machine-generated heat.

Stress can also increase the perception of heat. Help your people keep their cool to help them keep cooler.

Educate everyone about heat illness

Everyone on your team should be aware of the signs of heat illness. If someone starts to feel faint, dizzy, or nauseated, they need to get to a cool area and drink fluids immediately. These are signs of heat exhaustion and can lead to more serious problems if not treated.

Heat stroke can follow heat exhaustion. Heat stroke can be fatal.

Some people are more vulnerable to heat than others. People who are obese or who have high blood pressure can be susceptible to heat illness. Diabetes, age, and pregnancy can also be risk factors. Check in with higher-risk individuals when there are extreme heat advisories at your location.

Watch for overheat error codes

In general, your Rexroth drive and control systems can function at high temperatures. However, that’s only true if they are properly set up with blowers and — when necessary — cooled cabinets. Pay attention to warning messages that tell you the machinery is getting too hot.

And keep in mind that if it’s hot enough to be rough on your servos, it’s hot enough to be hard on your human workers.

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