When the Workplace Gets Hot – Beat the Heat with a Breeze!
Temperatures are rising and high humidity is sure to rear its head. Working in hot, humid conditions can result in a number of adverse health effects ranging from discomfort to serious health risks. There are many steps that employers can take to assess risk and provide more comfortable working conditions during hot weather. Some fundamentals include:
- Minimize direct sunlight
- Provide clean drinking water at all times
- Operate with a work & rest routine
- Controlling airflow
While some of these steps seem like a matter of using good judgment, let’s address the more complex issue of controlling airflow. Air movement throughout the workplace is necessary for the health and comfort of your employees. But in some applications such as warehouses, manufacturing, and workshops—air conditioning is not only expensive but practically impossible. In many cases, HVLS (High Volume Low Speed) fans can do the job. The breeze generated by these giant fans can actually make us feel cooler by up to 10-12 degrees. Even better, they provide air comfort throughout the year by spreading cool breezes in the summer and distributing warm air in the winter.
How do HVLS fans work?
Basically, it’s a matter of physics. HVLS fans work on the principle that cool moving air breaks up the moisture-saturated boundary layer surrounding the body and accelerates evaporation to produce a cooling effect. Ceiling fans produce a column of air as they turn. This column of air moves down and out along the floor. Called a horizontal floor jet, this deep wall of horizontal moving air is relative to the diameter of a fan, and to a lesser degree, the speed of a fan. Once the floor jet reaches its potential, it migrates outward until it meets a side wall or other vertical surface.
Industrial Safety & Hygiene News  cites the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services paper "Workers in Hot Environments," stating a 2-3 mph air speed creates a cooling sensation of 7-11 degrees. The advantage of HVLS fans is their ability to move large volumes of air and create a steady, light breeze. When the breeze reaches people during the warm months, it creates an evaporative cooling effect and reduces the effective temperature by 10-12 degrees F.
In addition to the comfort factor, the energy efficiency and environmental benefits of HVLS fans also have made them a significant potential strategy for earning LEED certification. This is particularly true for buildings with tall ceilings, such as warehouses and distribution centers, where the energy savings can be significant.
Action Lift represents the BLUE GIANT line of HVLS fans. Blue Giant fans include the Eagle VI and Falcon III Series. Their technology systems can be customized for specific applications. So keeping larger locations like warehouses cooler can be maximized, thereby helping to reduce HVAC requirements. Likewise, smaller locations such as workshops and retail outlets can be addressed with a quiet, comfortable three-airfoil system. In Northeastern Pennsylvania, Action Lift can help your operation move its air. We will survey your needs to integrate the most efficient HVLS fans for a comfortable temperature year round.
Move your air. Motivate your employees.
We know that excessive heat is a health and safety hazard. Heat stress can lead to distracted workers and can threaten their safety on the job. Also, it's understood that subnormal performance will hurt productivity. When comfort takes a nosedive, safety, and productivity falls too.
But what about employee morale? Studies  indicate that worker productivity decreases as temperatures rise about 77 degrees F. Good airflow makes employees more comfortable, which translates into higher productivity, improved morale, and better health.
See why moving your air will motivate your employees, help productivity, and cut back your energy costs too. It seems like a win-win solution to beating the heat! Contact Action Lift to learn more.
- (1) https://continuingeducation.bnpmedia.com/courses/macroair-technologies/hvac-for-large-spaces-the-sustainable-benefits-of-hvls-high-volumelow-speed-fans/
- (2) http://www.ishn.com/articles/103631-heading-off-heat-stress
- (3) https://ohsonline.com/articles/2010/05/14/going-with-the-airflow.aspx