Pork producers invest money and effort to relieve heat stress in their animals. Crop producers fret about the impact of hot weather on crops, especially when moisture is short. But what about your employees, your family and yourself?
Bob Milligan, management and leadership specialist and professor emeritus at Cornell University, reminds us that people feel heat stress, too. Take a few minutes now to prepare your workforce for the hot days that lie ahead. A quick review during a coffee break would be time well spent.
Milligan offers a few ideas to apply to your workforce on hot days:
- The greatest reliever of heat stress is to remain hydrated. Make certain that liquids are always plentiful and easily accessible. Water is always the best option, but sports drinks can help rebuild electrolytes; just don’t overdo it.
- On especially hot days, take short but frequent breaks.
- If the work being done is exposed to the hot sun, definitely keep an eye on the amount of time spent there and retreat to the shade.
- Whenever possible, reschedule heavy work to cooler times of the day. You’re likely to change the sorting, loading and shipping time for your pigs to very early morning or even nighttime, but keep that same rule in mind for workers if the task allows.
- Have realistic expectations about how much can be done on hot days and especially during extended periods on hot days.
“Here’s a simple rule,” Milligan says. “If you are hot, everyone else is as well. Maintain your productivity and that of others by acting appropriately to the temperature.”