You know what they say: “If you can’t take the heat in the kitchen…find a way to cool things off!”
Okay, that may not be exactly how that phrase goes, but you get the point. Record-setting heat across the country is making it more critical than ever to ensure the safety and comfort of your hospitality staff.
During the summer months, hospitality workers can be exposed to uncomfortable working conditions (both indoors and out) that can affect their job performance and health. Hard work in hot weather can raise an employee’s body temperature higher than his body can cool itself off by sweating. So as we head into the dog days of summer, use these common sense tips to keep your hospitality staff cool, safe and productive while they’re on the job:
Watch the heat index. The heat index (a measure of how hot it really feels as the relative humidity increases) can affect how safe it is to work outside on any given day. As you plan employees’ activities, be sure everyone on staff knows the heat index and measures their effort accordingly.
Provide plenty of water. Encourage employees to take frequent hydration breaks. Decaffeinated drinks like water and sports drinks provide the most benefit; remind your staff to choose these over teas, caffeinated sodas and energy drinks during the heat of the day.
Plan breaks from the heat and sun. If employees will be working in direct sunlight or under unusually hot conditions, plan shaded or indoor respite breaks into their work schedules.
Schedule strenuous activities for the coolest time of day. When possible, allow employees to perform taxing jobs like set-up, re-stocking and break-down early in the morning or later in the evening.
Establish a summer dress code. Allow employees to wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect both heat and sunlight.
Make sure kitchens are well ventilated. Ovens, grills and exhaust from refrigeration equipment greatly increase kitchen temperatures. Add extra fans and/or air conditioners to regulate the temperature and keep air moving.
Look for the signs of heat-related illness. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), here are some key symptoms to watch for in your employees and the appropriate first aid. Be prepared by keeping a well-stocked first-aid kit with the items necessary to address heat-related conditions.
Take these proactive steps to keep your hospitality staff comfortable, productive and cool as a “Penguin” at the North Pole! And as always, if you need reliable, experienced hospitality staff at a moment’s notice, give Penguin Staff a call. Throughout Atlanta, Central Virginia and the D.C./Baltimore Metro area, Penguin has the people you need.