Ahmedabad | Worker productivity can be enhanced by up to 12 per cent by increasing the level of cooling comfort at workplace, according to a study by Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A).
The study, ‘Heat stress and its effect on psychological aspects of workers in India,’ was conducted by IIM-A faculty members Dheeraj Sharma and Rajesh Chandwani. Heat stress can not only cause physical health hazards but also have negative impact on the mental and psychological health of workers.
Hence, the state and the centre, policy makers, employee welfare bodies and organisations should address the issue immediately, the faculty members said here today. With the Centre emphasising on the growth of manufacturing sector through the Make In India initiative, we need to pay more attention to the effect of increasing temperatures on worker productivity and health, Sharma said.
Our study attempts to quantify the improvement in productivity that can be gained through establishment of cooling solutions at indoor workplaces. According to our study, worker productivity can be enhanced by up to 12 per cent by increasing the level of thermal comfort at workplace.
The optimal temperature for worker performance may vary. However, in tropical countries, most of the studies have found that optimal range of ambient temperature (air temperature of an environment) for enhanced worker productivity is about 25-30 degrees Celsius, Chandwani said.
The faculty members said regulatory bodies should encourage environment friendly and feasible measures such as deploying high capacity industrial coolers and solar panel driven cooling system to enhance worker efficiency. Textile industry, bakeries and steel among other sectors need to monitor the ambient temperature at workplace regularly.
Such organisations should provide for cooling solutions, wherever feasible, to reduce the workplace ambient temperature, they said.
They suggested the organisations regularly monitor the employees’ morale and psychological state at workplace and provide facilities such as drinking water and hydrating solutions, and ensure appropriate clothing for preventing heat -related health hazards like dehydration.
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