Preventing heat stress starts with a plan

A heavy equipment manufacturer recognized that workers in the facility were at risk of heat-related illness during the summer months, but management was not sure of the best approach for addressing the risk. A manager in the facility, who had worked with Taylor’d Ergo in a previous job, recommended us for the project. A call was made, a proposal written, and we were off and running!

The project plan

A senior and novice ergonomist reviewed the client’s existing heat stress prevention program, and worked with the client’s Health and Safety Committee to create zones in the plant that could operate under different work-rest schedules if needed. They reviewed the current heat stress reading locations and worked with the key stakeholders to identify potential reading locations in additional zones. Each zone would be characterized by one temperature reading to represent the entire area. Similarly, each zone would be categorized as one energy expenditure. The ergonomists and JHSC collaboratively selected the most physically demanding job in each zone.

The analysis

The ergonomists completed detailed energy expenditure assessments for the most demanding job in each zone, using the University of Michigan Energy Expenditure Prediction Program. The ergonomists measured the demands of every step of the identified jobs….walking distances, weights, push/pull efforts, task frequencies, and more. The U of M software program analyses all of this data and reports energy demands in kCal/minute, which allows us to classify jobs as “light”, “moderate”, “heavy”, or “very heavy”. The ergonomists identified three “light” jobs, two “moderate” jobs, and no “heavy” or “very heavy” jobs. The ergonomists reviewed these results with the client. Based on the analyses, zones were categorized as “light” or “moderate”.

The outcome

The ergonomists reviewed the client’s existing heat stress prevention program, and made suggestions for next season. They created 5 zones in the facility, each with unique heat and energy characteristics. They provided some heat-stress prevention awareness materials to promote employee awareness and understanding of the program. They also suggested some work that could be done at the end of the heat stress season, including “what if” assessments to identify changes that could make moderate jobs “lighter”, and zones that could be combined or split to optimize work/rest scheduling.

The client reported:

Working with Taylor’d Ergo was easy and simple. The ergonomists provided a detailed plan and very usable materials for us to roll out for the coming summer season. We reviewed this plan with our JHSC and they were very pleased to see we cared enough about the employees health and safety to consult professionals such as Taylor’d. Thank you Taylor’d Ergo for your professionalism and continued support.”

John Magee, Hydra Dyne Technology Inc.

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