The importance of temperature control in production facilities

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By Nathan Kitson, guest writer.

Temperature is an overlooked yet indispensable issue in production facilities. Adequate control is important at every level. From employee health, product quality, and machinery lifespan, there’s no end to the ways that too much heat or cold can influence the production process.

And with the world on track for higher average temperatures than ever, there’s no better time for facility managers to keep their fingers on the dial of their facilities’ thermometer.

But which facilities are at risk? Just why is temperature so important? And how can you control it? We’ve written this guide to answer all.

Which production facilities are at risk?

Many people mistakenly think that the only facilities deserving of temperature safety concerns are those in which ovens and furnaces are integral parts of the process, such as steel and glass manufacturers or baked goods facilities.

Yet, any kind of production facility that houses physically intensive labour is susceptible to heat. Summer months, old buildings and poor ventilation all contribute to rising temperatures and dangerous working conditions.

Why is temperature control important?

Extreme temperatures put workers’ health at risk. The nature of inflicted illnesses will depend on the severity of overheating, as well as underlying problems. But heat cramps and exhaustion, heatstroke and even heart attacks are all common heat-related illnesses.

Temperature is also a detriment to the product. It influences the structural integrity of most materials and fluctuations between hot and cold can cause objects to expand and contract until they’re no longer up to specification.

On the flip side, by properly maintaining and controlling process temperature, production facilities can ensure that products are made to spec, prolong the life of machinery and keep workers comfortable, productive and healthy.

How can you control temperature?

In line with health and safety at work law, employers must keep workplace temperatures at a comfortable level and provide clean and fresh air. There are a number of methods that they can implement to this end:

  • Installing fans to blow air around key building areas
  • Enforcing regular breaks to allow workers to get fresh air and cool down
  • Introducing flexible work patterns that limit heat exposure
  • Opening doors and windows for ventilation
  • Placing insulation around hot pipes
  • Installing air conditioning
  • Situating workstations away from sunlight and heat-emitting machinery
  • Installing evaporative cooling systems that use a natural process to cool down any space

Although there are no legal stipulations on temperatures, the Approved Code of Practice suggest a minimum temperature of 13 degrees Celsius for workplaces in which rigorously physical work takes place, yet does not suggest a maximum.

In conclusion

Production facility temperature is a significant hazard that employers should tackle with the utmost seriousness. There are many ways to control temperature and facility managers will likely need to employ a combination of methods and use their discretion.

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