- To Reduce Risk of Heat-Related Illnesses
Heat stress is a condition that occurs when a person is unable to cool themselves down through perspiration, and their temperature rises rapidly. Heat stress is also closely linked to heat-related illnesses, which range from heat rash and heat cramps to severe and potentially fatal conditions like heat stroke.
As this condition can lead to a chain reaction of illnesses and accidents, it is important to invest in measures against it. The statistics surrounding heat stress underline the urgency of this issue. According to the Lancet Countdown, heat-related deaths have increased by two-thirds over the past two decades. In the US alone, there are an average of 67,512 emergency department visits due to heat each year. In Singapore, between 71 and 124 people have been hospitalized for heat-related illnesses each year from 2010 to 2020.
These figures highlight the critical need for companies to invest in heat stress prevention strategies. Safeguarding the health and wellbeing of workers is not only for the benefit of these workers, but also benefits the business through ensuring the continuity of operations and mitigating potential liabilities associated with workplace heat stress. In the face of rising temperatures and an increasingly harsh climate, heat stress prevention is a non-negotiable aspect of responsible and future-proof business operations.
- To Prevent Detriment to Worker Productivity
Heat stress does not just pose a threat to health, it also significantly affects worker productivity. Studies have indicated that dehydration, a common outcome of heat stress, can lead to a substantial decline in mental function. Loss of short-and long-term memory, spatial awareness, and reaction time can have a direct impact on the productivity of workers engaged in physical tasks, causing them to be less productive and possibly endanger themselves.
The repercussions of this productivity loss are far-reaching. Heat stress is increasingly posing an obstacle to economic activity, reducing the ability of businesses to operate during the hottest hours of the day. In 1995, an estimated 1.4% of total working hours worldwide were lost due to high heat levels, resulting in an estimated loss of US$280 billion. Each incidence of overheating related to extreme weather conditions can cost an employer around $79,081. Projections suggest that by 2030, with global temperatures rapidly rising, the cost of working hours lost will increase to US$2400 billion, making it essential to take preventative measures.
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