[The Continuance] (Part 2 of 2)
Cooling Pack Vests
Sunburn is what happens when the sun heats your skin up too much for too long. Heat stroke, on the other hand, is what happens when a team member's core body temperature rises too high. If you are dealing with a constant risk of heat stroke or your company is located somewhere with occasional record-high hot temperatures, keep a few cooling pack vests handy.
These are essentially vests covered in pockets that hold and insulate lunch-sized ice packs. Cooling pack vests are particularly useful for teams that often work in hot attics or crawl spaces where air circulation is not an option and heat can rise uncontrollably but they are ideal for any field service where your guys are expected to work in inhuman temperatures.
Interestingly, cooling vests can be re-equipped with hot packs for warming vests in the winter, making them great year-round gear for your fleet vehicles.
Large Area Fans
Just as the personal misting fan is useful for small spaces and personal heat management, the large area fan is a classic for construction heat solutions. Yards, basements, and even in-between spaces can often be made much safer for field service work with a little forced ventilation.
Many teams carry two large shop fans and try to position one facing inward at the air 'entrance' and one facing outward at an opposite point to simultaneously push in fresh and suck out stagnant hot and dusty air. You may also consider creating a mounting point for the back of trucks and cans so the vehicle itself can be pointed at a hot work site.
Light Lunch Menu
It might not be obvious, but what your team eats for lunch can have a significant impact on how heat-resistant they are in the afternoon. Digesting a big heavy lunch will cause blood to rush to the stomach. This isn't just bad for mental focus, it also raises the core body temperature.
When planning the routes for each of your fleet vehicles, consider scheduling lunch stops at sandwich and salad places instead of burger joints and advising your team to pick cool, non-greasy options off the menu. This will have everyone working faster in the afternoon and reduce the chance of getting sick in the heat.
Wet Towels and Ice Buckets
Of course, sometimes the best answer is also the simplest. Humans have dipping cloth in cool water to beat the heat for thousands of years, so why should you stop now?
Landscapers often use damp head cloths to fight the heating power of the sun and a cool towel draped over your shoulders can make a hot basement or attic much easier to take on. Keep a few thin but sturdy dish towels in the truck and dip them in your melted cooler ice or pack a bucket for portable cool water on location.
Coming back to re-dip the cloth is also a good way to make sure everyone takes regular water and rest breaks when the heat is dangerously high.
Personal Fitness Devices
If your fleet specializes in high-tech solutions like GPS, mapping software, and gas card programs, consider adding to your data dashboards by providing personal fitness devices for each team member.
These can directly report body temperature at the wrist back to headquarters or your on-site manager's mobile device and send alerts if anyone rises above what is safe.
Personal fitness devices, if used correctly, can both help you to catch heat stroke before it happens and create records to prove that your team is always within certain safety parameters. Simply monitoring a few vitals can help you prevent a wide number of on-site health and safety problems.
Watch the Weather
Finally, keep an eye on the weather and how hot it's going to become each day. One or two heat-beating solutions might be sufficient for most days, but when the temperature hits local peaks you may want to take extra precautions.
Advise that teams take longer or more frequent breaks when working during record heat days and consider increasing the stock of chilled water bottles and lemonades that are packed into each truck cooler in the morning. You may also want to authorize additional expenses or stops at each team leader's discretion to prevent overheating and to keep everyone cool.
Summer is a high time for field services and being able to work through the heat is a key part of making your service fleet profitable. Whether your teams are working inside or outside, as a fleet manager you are in a unique position to keep everyone safe from heat sickness.
With well-maintained and well-stocked vehicles, your teams will be able to rely on their mobile 'home base' as a cooling location and source of on-site cooling equipment. For more essential fleet management advice, contact us today!