4 cool tips for managers to help their staff when working in a freezer and living in an oven.
In the real world, extremely cold climates are usually separated from very hot climates by a very long car drive, or a flight in a cramped seat with a budget airline.
However, in the world of working in the refrigerated or cold chain industry here in Australia, the two climates are separated by only a couple of very expensive doorways.
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Remember the body shock when you left a Melbourne winter and stepped out the plane and onto the tarmac at Bali’s Denpasar airport?
Well, it’s the same, except you’ve just finished your shift in a huge sub-zero fridge, and now you’re walking to your car on a 38 degree day, and the inside of the car is topping 55 degrees which could cook an egg on your dashboard!
You know this is hard on your body – you can feel it!
So it’s smart to take precautions to make the transition from the arctic cold to the desert heat!
- Take Proper Precautions INDOORS.
Being able to safely re enter the outdoors starts with taking proper care of yourself when you are indoors. Take care to protect extremities like hands, ears, head, and feet. Move around frequently because circulation is slowed in extremely cold temperatures.
If you’re glued to a forklift most of the day, do what the paraplegic Olympians do in their wheelchairs – wiggle often! Lift your butt of the seat often and get that blood circulating.
When able get off your machine and stretch even if it’s only for a few seconds- your back will love you…remember you’re got a long life ahead of you.
- Layers, Layers, Layers
Not only do layers of clothing help keep you warm, they also make it easier for you to gradually remove layers as your body begins to warm up.
- Stay Hydrated
We tend to think of the need to hydrate only in hot temperatures, but your body actually needs extra fluids in both the extreme cold and the heat. There are lots of little “thermos” like drink containers that can keep drinks warm and can fit into your pocket or storage tray in the forklift.
Drink cooler as you go back outdoors. Your body will better be able to absorb cool, as opposed to cold fluids, so resist the urge to down an ice packed beverage immediately upon going back into the heat.
- Slow and Steady
After being in frigid temps for hours, it can be tempting to rush out into the warmth of the sun and “get some rays“. However a fast switch from hold to hot can “freak out” the body, especially if you are prone to low blood pressure.
Fainting in the carpark is not very glamorous! Instead, spend some time in a climate controlled room (maybe it’s the locker room or staff room) to allow your body to slowly warm up before being shocked by the baking heat of the outdoors.