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Stay Safe While Working in Hot Conditions Indoors

Stay Safe While Working in Hot Conditions Indoors

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)

Ergonomics Tips: Working in Hot Conditions Indoors
Ergonomics Tips: Working in Hot Conditions While Indoors

“In 2010, 4,190 workers suffered from heat illness and 40 died from heat stroke and other related causes on the job,” Bureau of Labor Statistics

Each year, thousands of workers experience serious illnesses and injury due to hot working conditions. One may think only outdoor workers should be cautious of the heat, but many indoor workers are exposed to heat on the job too.

It is important that workers who are required to work in hot environments avoid overheating and other heat related injuries.

Who is at risk?

The obvious occupations that involve hot work environments would be a steel worker in a steel foundry or workers in a boiler room, but there are many jobs that involve high heat environments. For example, bakeries and commercial kitchens require work in high heat. Additionally, distribution warehouses and material handling industrial plants may involve high heat as well.

Other high heat environments include: iron foundries, nonferrous foundries, brick-firing and ceramic plants, glass products facilities, rubber products factories, electrical utilities (particularly boiler rooms), confectioneries, commercial kitchens, laundries, food canneries, chemical plants, steam tunnels, and hazardous waste sites.

How do you know when you’re overheating on the job?

Working in hot conditions could lead to heat exhaustion, heat stress, heat cramps, and more. It is important to recognize the warning signs of heat related injury.

Here are a few symptoms to watch for according to the CDC: high body temperature, confusion, loss of coordination, hot/dry skin or profuse sweating, throbbing headaches, rapid heartbeat, heavy sweating, extreme weakness or fatigue, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, shallow breathing.

A few ergonomics tips to prevent heat related injury

It is the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe work environment. Whenever possible, it is recommended that an ergonomics expert be consulted to evaluate a worksite that is at high risk for heat related injury.

Along with proper air conditioning and air ventilation, employers should provide workers with break rooms that contain cool water and a place to rest. Workers should take turns taking water breaks, providing relief workers or extra workers will make this a more practical practice and will reduce the physical demands of being understaffed.

Foundrymag recommends “wearing light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing such as cotton and avoiding non-breathing synthetic clothing.”

Additionally, newer workers should be eased in to working in hot environments. New employees should be exposed to hot work environments in stages, slowly becoming acclimated to the hot conditions over time.

In conclusion

Knowing the warning signs, along with plenty of rest and plenty of water is truly the key to avoiding heat related injury. For more depth and detail, contact one of our ergonomics experts for a consultation.

As always, be sure to subscribe to our blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Renton, Kent, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.


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5 Ergonomics Tips for Assembly Line Efficiency

5 Ergonomics Tips for Assembly Line Efficiency

Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc.
(Ergonomics Experts serving Kent, Renton, Seattle, and Tacoma Washington, California, and Oregon.

5 Ergonomics Tips for Assembly Line Efficiency

In 2009 there were 30,790 repetitive motion injuries in the United States.”

Not all warehouse or industrial workplace injuries are instant or obvious. Some warehouse injuries occur over a long period of time, but these injuries are just as serious as any other warehouse injury. For instance, assembly line workers risk repetitive motion disorders (RMDs), such as tendonitis or bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger, or arthritis.

Proper ergonomics in the warehouse or plant should be used to lessen the effects of the repetitive motion involved in assembly line work.

What causes repetitive motion disorders?

Most industrial plant assemblers will repeat the same motion for a long period of time, which can cause fatigue and muscle tendon strain, resulting in repetitive motion disorders. The effects of repetitive motion disorders can increase when assemblers use unnatural or awkward postures with forceful exertions.

Symptoms of RMDs include pain, tingling, numbness, swelling or redness of the affected area, and the loss of flexibility and strength. For some workers, there may be no sign of injury, but workers may find it hard to perform easy tasks. At some point, permanent damage may be done and expensive surgery may be required.

Applying ergonomics as a solution

Ergonomics experts work tirelessly to help reduce injury in the workplace by creating safe and efficient conditions for workers.

Here are 5 ways ergonomics can improve assembly line safety and efficiency:

1. Use an adjustable working height
To avoid hunched posture, craned neck, or injuries, try installing height-adjustable workstations that suite an individual assembler. Not only will this help prevent injury, but work efficiency will improve.

2. Keep everything easy to reach
Every work station is different, but the work area should be designed around the person instead of the other way around. Tools should be within comfortable reach of each operator. The less an assembler or operator needs to strain their body to reach tools, the better.

3. Allow enough room to move around
Standing for long periods of time can cause issues for the legs and feet, so it is important to allow for movement or sitting to relieve pressure.

4. Provide comfortable mats to stand on
Most warehouses have hard floors, so be sure there is a comfortable mat available to relieve any pressure from standing on hard surfaces, such as concrete.

5. Invest in better equipment
While it may be tempting to save money by using a manual lift system instead of an automatic lift system, for example, the long-term investment will pay off. Purchasing equipment that makes the job easier for employees will result in healthier and happier employees. Less workplace injury also means less compensation claims, more efficient workers, lower insurance, and usually a better product.

In conclusion

Every workstation is different, so be sure to consult with an ergonomics expert to assess your workspace. It is important to invest in the safety of your assemblers, the return on investment will save you money in the long run.For more ergonomics tips, visit com and subscribe to our blog.  provides work place and ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., an ergonomics assessment provider located in Seattle, Kent, Renton, Tacoma, Washington State, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.


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