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How Air Conditioning Protects Against Heat Stress

Your air conditioning unit can play a more crucial role in maintaining employee health during the summer than you might realise, and is just one of the key reasons to keep your office cool for summer. Heat stress can pose a serious threat to health, so it’s always best to be on the safe side by keeping your air conditioning unit switched on and well-maintained throughout summer.

What Is Heat Stress?

 sweating man

Heat stress is broad term which is used to refer to what happens when the body is unable to regulate its internal temperature (for whatever reason), including by sweating, and as the temperature rises to critical levels. In fact, this is essentially the cause of almost all heat-related illnesses; the body failing to shed enough heat.

The body’s response to this scenario is to store the heat instead. In severe enough cases, this can result in symptoms like cramps, exhaustion and stroke, all of which are major indicators of heat stress.

How Can Heat Stress Affect Employees?

hot office environment

Depending on a number of factors, heat stress can actually affect different people in different ways. Some are more susceptible to it than others; these factors can include physical fitness, high or low blood pressure, and whether or not the employee has a heart condition. It can also be especially dangerous for people outdoors under direct sunlight, or if they’re doing heavy manual work.

Here are some of the symptoms of heat stress:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Severe thirst
  • Cramping in muscles
  • Heat rash
  • Fainting
  • Heatstroke

Air Conditioning Keeps Workers Safe And Healthy

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Since a lot of the problems associated with heat stress are mostly due to temperature (as you might imagine), a well-maintained, efficient air conditioning system can help prevent cases of ill health entirely. Many offices rely mainly on air conditioning to ventilate themselves, making it invaluable for keeping people healthy. Small offices can heat up faster than people give them credit for, especially in the summer; and large electrical items like photocopies and printers can give off radiant heat that quickly adds to the radiant temperature of the room.

It’s worth noting that simply opening a window can’t cool a room with the same efficiency that an air conditioning unit can. In fact, we explicitly mentioned this not too long ago in our blog about common mistakes with air conditioning – open windows are more prone to letting in warm air than cool breezes from outside, heating an office up more frequently than they cool it down.

For these reasons and more, a well-maintained air conditioning system is the best answer to protecting employees from the worst effects of heat stress, especially in the summer.

At Askews, we’re proud to be staffed by highly trained heating and cooling engineers; all armed with the knowledge and expertise to keep your air conditioning unit running smoothly and efficiently all throughout summer. You can find out more about air conditioning maintenance and servicing here, or book in an appointment with one of our technicians by calling 01282 863 825.

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