Heat Waves Are Serious Business

Posted by Melodie Elliott on Mon, Jun 19, 2017 @ 05:19 PM

Did you know heat waves are a primary cause of worker heat-related illnesses and fatalities in the state of California? This fact is illustrated in a thorough case study completed in 2006.  The study showed that 84% of the confirmed occupational heat illnesses in 2006 occurred during a July heat wave.

Nationally, Weather.com just last week shared additional information on the magnitude of heat related deaths: https://weather.com/science/weather-explainers/news/weather-event-fatalities-heat. According to the Natioanl Weather Service, heat is the weather event that produces the greatest number of weather related fatalities - even ahead of floods and tornadoes - each year. 

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All of this means that heat waves are not only a serious matter, it is a matter of serious business to your bottom-line by ensuring your workers stay healthy on your job and able to return day-in and day-out. 

Since we discussed in our prior blog this month that Cal/OSHA sets a standard for the nation on worker protection, let's go back to specifics as a good example to follow. In 2006, Cal/OSHA (California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, better known as Cal/OSHA) mandated regulations aimed at heat illness prevention.  This includes “high-heat procedures” that focus on:

  • Observation – following the weather to know when heat is coming and implementing a buddy system that encourages onsite workers to look out for each other
  • Communication (including pre-shift meetings before the commencement of work to review the high heat procedures)
  • Taking proactive action – encouraging employees to drink plenty of water, and reminding employees of their right to take a cool-down rest when necessary.

A heat wave, especially when temperatures are over 95°F, requires more. This is outlined in section (e) from the Cal/OSHA site: https://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/3395.html. To summarize in the most basic terms, it requires California employers with agricultural workers, construction workers, landscapers and any other industry with outdoor workers to provide more than adequate water, shade, rest breaks and training.  This rule applies when temperatures are higher than 80°F degrees, but it should be noted additional requirements apply when the outdoor temperature exceeds 95°F.  At that particular temperature, a more stringent set of rules are in place to prevent heat illness. 

To stand in compliance with these regulations above 95°F, you must have in place “an effective Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP)” as stipulated by Cal/OSHA. Additionally, besides providing water and first aid, “the employer must ensure that the employee takes a minimum ten-minute net preventative cool-down rest period every two hours.  If the workday will extend beyond eight hours, then an additional preventative cool-down rest period will be required at the conclusion of the eighth hour of work; and if the workday extends beyond ten hours, then another preventative cool-down rest period will be required at the conclusion of the tenth hour and so on. For purposes of this section, preventative cool-down rest period has the same meaning as “recovery period” in Labor Code Section 226.7(a).”

Meeting these requirements is part of the fundamentals of being compliant, but employers should also evaluate cooling options to help ensure employees stay safe and productive at higher temperatures. Given A/C is not a practical option outside, utilizing an energy-efficient cooling method such as a portable evaporative cooler may be a viable solution. Evaporative coolers provide natural cooling and can be operated with a generator to deliver a comfortable cool-down space for employees.  Portacool evaporative coolers come in a range of sizes, operate with a standard 110-V and are equipped with heavy-duty castors to provide easy mobility for achieving cooling where it is needed.

Planning ahead makes a difference.  Take the time BEFORE a heat wave hits to plan for protecting your workers. It may be the difference between life and death.

*Article sources:

https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/heatIllnessQA.html#item-4http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/etools/08-006/EWP_mwc.htm; https://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/3395.html;

Topics: Evaporative Cooler, evaporative cooling, Extreme Heat, @heatstress, #calosha, Heat Illness, heat wave, Cal/OSHA, National Weather Service

A Refresher Course: What is Evaporative Cooling?

Posted by Melodie Elliott on Thu, May 26, 2016 @ 03:55 PM

Ah, the sultry days of summer are just around the corner. Depending on where you live, the mercury may already be rising. It is helpful to know your cooling options. Today, many people are familiar with traditional cooling methods ranging from air-conditioning (AC) to fans. AC works in closed spaces where the recirculated cool air can be maximized with use of refrigerant and a compressor. Fans – both oscillating and ceiling options - generate air but it is not chilled in any capacity.   

What about evaporative cooling? What is it exactly? Evaporative cooling is, quite simply, cooling with water.  A few relatable examples of evaporative cooling at work is the cooling sensation felt when climbing out of a swimming pool, perspiration as a form of natural cooling to the body or feeling the cool breeze blowing across a lake. By evaporating water, the temperature of the air in contact with the liquid water will lower as an endothermic reaction takes place.  During this reaction, the liquid water changes to a gas and the temperature of the air lowers. 

A portable evaporative cooler essentially works off this principle by acting as a cooling fan that uses water, a pump and a wetted surface to create the naturally occurring process of evaporation to cool warm air and drop temperatures.  By pulling air across water, the temperature of the air will lower.  A control system within the evaporative cooler operates the pump to assist in creating this effect and the fan distributes the cool air.

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One unique aspect of the evaporative cooler is that it actually works best with a supply of outside ambient air to deliver a temperature reduction and cooling effects.  While evaporative coolers achieve significant temperature drops in more arid climates and drier spaces, they provide relief from the heat in any climate.  For example, in regions where relative humidity reaches 70% at midday with temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, evaporative coolers have been shown to offer noteworthy relief. Given that relative humidity is lowest in the afternoon when the temperature is at its highest, an effective evaporative cooling scenario is achievable.

Example: Evaporative coolers have been proven to deliver a temperature reduction from 8 to 10 degrees in the morning in the highest humidity regions (Miami, New Orleans, or Boston), and  up to 12 to 15 degrees later in the day when the  relative humidity goes down as the temperature goes up.

The technology at the center of an evaporative cooling system is the evaporative media (e.g. the surface) that collects water. Air passes through the media and is cooled as the water evaporates. The evaporative media is specially treated to prevent deterioration and ensure a long service life.  A special water distribution system spreads water over the surface of the media within the cooling unit to ensure a uniform water supply.  This keeps the entire air to contact surface thoroughly wet. A control system operates the water pump and distributes the cool air.  What difference does this evaporative media make? We’ll take a deeper look at that in next week’s post. Stay tuned.

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Topics: evaporative cooling, evaporative cooler vs air conditioner, air cooler, evaporative cooling media

Texas-based Portacool, LLC Joins Largest-Ever U.S. Business Delegation to 2016 Hannover Messe

Posted by Melodie Elliott on Mon, Apr 25, 2016 @ 06:00 AM

Portacool is One of 390 Represented as U.S. Serves as Partner Country for the First Time in Fair’s History

Center, Texas (April 25, 2016) – Portacool, LLC, the Texas-based global leader in evaporative cooling technology, today announced it is part of the largest-ever U.S. delegation to Hannover Messe. Hannover Messe is the world’s foremost trade fair for industrial technology taking place April 25-29, in Hannover, Germany. Hannover Messe typically hosts more than 200,000 attendees from more than 70 countries, including global investors, buyers, distributors, resellers and government officials.

For the first time in the Fair’s history, the United States will be the Partner Country, a status that provides the more than 390 businesses and organizations in the U.S. delegation an unprecedented opportunity to be prominently featured throughout the event. President Obama will also participate in this year’s event themed "Integrated Industry-Discover Solutions.” Portacool will exhibit in Hall 6, Stand E-10 showcasing the latest innovations in portable evaporative cooling solutions including the new Portacool Hurricane™ 370 and two of the newly introduced Portacool Jetstream™ series evaporative coolers.

“Portacool is honored to be a part of the first-ever U.S. Partner Country presence at Hannover Messe and look forward to making the most of this opportunity,” says Ben Wulf, CEO of Portacool, LLC. “As a Texas-based company with more than 25 years of experience and distributorship in 56 countries, we are thrilled to continue to expand our global impact and commitment toward providing cooling solutions that impact the safety of our customers.”

According to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, the U.S. business community and the Department of Commerce have a clear message for the world, “The United States is open for business,” says Pritzker. “We will demonstrate and deliver on that message at the 2016 Hannover Messe. We are proud to have some of America’s most innovative and forward-thinking manufacturers joining the U.S. delegation at this year’s fair.”

About Portacool, LLC

Portacool, LLC is the worldwide manufacturing leader in the portable evaporative cooling industry providing cooling solutions that protect against heat stress and discomfort in hard-to-cool work and residential spaces. The company is dedicated to worksite safety, productivity, sustainability and social responsibility by providing a variety of cooling products “When Comfort Counts™”. Headquartered in Center, Texas for more than 25 years, Portacool products are made in the USA with domestic and global parts. To learn more about the company, product line-up or find a retailer nationally or internationally in 56 countries abroad go to www.portacool.com.

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Topics: evaporative cooling, Portacool, hurricane 370, Hannover Messe 2016, U.S. commerce

Tips for staying safe in the heat at home

Posted by Melodie Elliott on Thu, Jul 09, 2015 @ 04:30 PM

This summer, we've talked a lot about heat safety relative to work environments. But, enjoying fun in the sun is one of the great pastimes of summer when you are at home.

It’s important to protect yourself from sun and hot weather while you’re outdoors. Normally, the body cools itself by sweating, but when the weather is particularly hot and humid, you may not sweat enough to keep yourself cool. When one’s body temperature increases too much, heat-related illnesses can occur. These range from minor irritations like heat rash or cramps, to potentially deadly conditions like heat exhaustion and heat stroke. In fact, each year, heat-related illnesses claim an average of more than 100 lives, according to the National Weather Service. Thousands more seek medical treatment for heat-induced injury and illness.

Here are a few tips  to keep yourself and your loved ones safe this summer:

* Choose your outdoor time wisely. Whenever possible, avoid spending time outside during the hottest parts of the day, typically noon to 5 p.m. Choose outdoor activities that you can enjoy in the early morning or evening, such as grilling and dining al fresco or going for a walk. 

* Keep everyone hydrated. When the weather is hot, it’s more important than ever to ensure everyone in the family – from children and pets to parents and grandparents – gets enough water. While outdoors, be sure to have ample bottled water on hand and don’t forget to keep your pet’s bowl filled—and give him plenty of opportunities to drink—while outdoors.

* Leverage cooling technology to make outdoor spaces more comfortable. Sometimes, you have to be outside during hotter times of day. Keeping cool is key. Outdoor coolers like the Portacool Cyclone 1000, use the natural process of evaporation to make outdoor spaces more comfortable during hot weather. These evaporative coolers move water over evaporative cooling pads (or evaporative cooling media) to produce chilled air that provides a noticeable difference – lowering temperatures by as much as 30°F. This can make outdoor spaces such as the patio, deck or garage more bearable in the heat. 

* Seek shade. If your patio or deck isn’t covered, use movable umbrellas or awnings to create plenty of shade. Going to a ballgame or the beach? Take an umbrella to shield you from the sun, or wear a wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun off your face.

* Choose weather-smart attire. When the weather’s very hot and the sun is bright, choose loose-fitting clothing made from lightweight materials and opt for lighter colors. This type of clothing will be more comfortable when you sweat, and lighter colors reflect heat more efficiently. If you’ll be working outdoors for any length of time, consider long-sleeved shirts and long pants in moisture-wicking materials to help shield your skin from sun exposure.

* Don’t overdo it with exercise. While vigorous exercise has many benefits, engaging in strenuous activity in extreme heat can do far more harm than good. If you enjoy an outdoor run or have yardwork to do, try to reserve it for the coolest times of day—early morning and evening. Consider taking your exercise routine indoors to a gym or your own living room when temperatures are very hot.

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Topics: evaporative cooling, heat stress, avoid heat stress, evaporative cooling pad, evaporative cooling media, heat-related illness, outdoor coolers, Portacool cyclone 1000

Heat Is More Than A Temperature Reading

Posted by Melodie Elliott on Fri, Jun 26, 2015 @ 04:45 PM

Assessing risk for heat-related illnesses means looking beyond the thermometer to other indicators that add to the potential for illness or injury. The “heat index” is defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as a single value that takes both temperature and humidity into account. Put simply, it can feel much warmer when the heat index value is factored in because it combines air temperatures and humidity to describe perceived outdoor temperature.

The key thing to know is the higher the heat index, the hotter the weather feels given that sweat does not readily evaporate and cool the skin. According to OSHA, the heat index is a better measure than air temperature alone for assessing the risk to workers from environmental heat sources.*

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This guide helps employers and worksite supervisors prepare & implement hot weather plans.
This guidance is available online at http://osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/heat_index/.

 

Take care to protect your employees in these conditions. Provide water. Offer regular breaks in the shade. If air-conditioning is unavailable or impractical, consider creating a cooling station where a portable evaporative cooler can be placed to help lower temperatures by as much as 30°F. Precaution and prevention are the keys to keeping employees safe when the mercury AND heat index rise.

*Source: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/heat_index/index.html; wording taken verbatim from Introduction to OSHA’s “Using the Heat Index: A Guide for Employers”

Topics: evaporative cooling, heat stress, OSHA, heat index

June is National Safety Month

Posted by Melodie Elliott on Tue, Jun 02, 2015 @ 10:45 AM

This month, via promotion of National Safety Month, the National Security Council is encouraging everyone to take extra care and precaution to maintain personal and work safety. As you can imagine, heat is one of the biggest safety concerns during the summer. Working in a hot environment can be more than uncomfortable, it can be a health risk and dangerous. According to the Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, each year thousands of people become sick from heat-related illnesses. Last year, at least 30 workers in this country died from heat exposure.

It is important to understand how the body handles heat and hot conditions. As temperatures rise, the body releases heat more slowly. As humidity increases, sweat evaporation decreases and stagnant air makes sweat evaporation more difficult. When these three factors are combined, you have a higher potential for health and safety concerns.*

In addition to the personal health risks, it is important to note that you are putting yourself and others in your work environment at risk when you are not properly prepared for the heat. The chances for accidents due to sweaty hands, dizziness and decreased mental alertness go up considerably in hot conditions. Additionally, increased body temperature and discomfort can lead to irritability and frustration that could lend to more careless behavior.

The key to staying safe in the heat is to take preventative measures. OSHA advises workers to follow these simple steps:

  • WATER: You need plenty of water throughout the day—every 15 minutes. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty.
  • REST: Rest breaks help your body recover.
  • SHADE: Resting in the shade or in air-conditioning helps you cool down.

 Keep in mind that cool air from evaporative coolers can also be a practical alternative when air conditioned spaces are unavailable as noted in the “shade” step. Portacool evaporative coolers are portable and work off a standard 110-V plug making accessibility easy in hard-to-cool spaces or outdoors. You could even consider setting-up a cooling station.

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Taking care to follow these tips can go a long way. This month we’ll continue to explore various heat-safety topics. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

*Source: Click-Safety http://www.clicksafety.com Heat Stress Course

Topics: evaporative cooling, heat stress, OSHA, cooling station, cooling solutions, National Safety Month

Heat is on the way...

Posted by Melodie Elliott on Thu, May 14, 2015 @ 07:00 PM

As we draw closer to June, one thing is certain: the heat is coming! Weather predictions indicate a majority of the country can expect a hotter summer than last. In fact, much of the USA will experience 90°+ temperatures.

Now is the time to prepare for these conditions BEFORE the mercury rises. If you manage work spaces that are open and difficult to cool, or if you are planning significant work outdoors or even entertaining this summer by the grill,  begin assessing your cooling needs now. High temperature environments can contribute to a slower work pace and increase the need for frequent breaks. In fact, studies show that worker productivity will decrease by more than 1% for every two degrees when temperatures rise over 77°F. At temperatures of 92°F or higher, there is a 16.6% decrease in productivity.  And, working in high temperature areas also increases the threat of heat-related illnesses.

Securing effective, affordable cooling solutions ahead of time will be a huge relief when respite from the heat is needed in those hard-to-cool spaces. Consider your cooling options.  Oscillating and ceiling fans simply blow stagnant warm air around.  Smaller fans are portable, but may not be powerful enough to cover a large, open area effectively.  Ceiling fans offer no portability and installation can be costly in an industrial environment.  Misters pose a drenching side effect when used outdoors and often not conducive in a working environment. Evaporative coolers are designed to create a noticeable difference by lowering temperatures by as much as 30°F.  

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Portacool portable evaporative cooling products combine the natural power of evaporation with the highest quality evaporative media to provide maximum cooling efficiency.  The portability of these evaporative coolers is particularly convenient. They can go anywhere they are needed:  in the garage, shop, auto bay, patio or outdoor work area.  As you begin assessing your needs, we appreciate your consideration. When comfort counts, Portacool™ portable evaporative coolers offer the lowest-cost, most effective cooling solution available.

Visit our products pages to check out our portable evaporative coolers to select the product that is right for you.

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Topics: evaporative cooling, heat stress, Extreme Heat, weather, cooling solutions, evaporative coolers, Portacool, affordable cooling

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