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Navigating the Heat: taking proactive measures against the rising temperatures

As the effects of global warming continue to intensify, the challenge of ensuring worker safety during periods of extreme heat is becoming increasingly crucial. In line with our We Care culture and recognition of the potential risks to the wellbeing of Lindströmers around the world that are posed by rising temperatures, we took proactive steps in the summer of 2023 to safeguard them from heat stress.

Generating awareness of a common threat

Global warming is causing heat stress conditions to become more frequent and intense around the globe. In our commitment to caring for our employees, for their wellbeing and safety in different kinds of ways, we addressed this issue head-on, acknowledging the specific challenges our workforce can face due to high air temperatures, humidity, direct contact with hot objects, and strenuous physical activities – especially in our laundry facilities. Also, our delivery personnel and partners are at risk of succumbing to the heat, given that their work at times entails carrying heavy loads significant distances or spending time in poorly air-conditioned spaces.

To mitigate the impact of heat stress on its employees, we implemented a series of actions, designed to alleviate and ease the effects of heat stress.

“From the start, we realised that we needed to enhance the awareness of this topic internally. We operate in different climate zones, so in some countries, heat has never necessarily been a cause for much worry. So, in July 2023, we organised a comprehensive Heat Stress Prevention & Response webinar, updated the material and started to take other measures as well. This initiative aimed to educate employees about the signs of heat stress, preventive measures, and appropriate responses to ensure their wellbeing,” recounts Harri Puputti, Director of Quality & Compliance.

Taking action on a laundry level

Recognising that especially our employees in the laundries faced a serious threat with rising temperatures, we took action on multiple levels to help ease the situation.

“To ensure real-time tracking of heat levels, we installed temperature and humidity meters in key areas, particularly in laundries where employees are more susceptible to elevated temperatures. This continuous monitoring allows for prompt intervention in case of heightened heat stress conditions,” shares Gavin Xiang, Manager of EHS & Improvement.

Going a step further, suggestions were made to the laundries to evaluate and enhance ventilation within their buildings. Adequate ventilation is crucial to minimising the risk of heat stress. In addition, ensuring cool social spaces or resting spaces was recommended to all laundry facilities – as well as offices, if possible.

“In addition, recognising the need for practical solutions, we began to develop cooling vests aimed at preventing heatstroke. Testing was conducted to ensure their effectiveness, and the vests were then promoted throughout the business units to support and provide employees with an additional layer of protection against extreme heat conditions,” elaborates Xiang.

I take care of you – you look after me

In addition, we developed materials to support information sharing and awareness on the topic with posters, cards, and heat stress index charts.

“Our We Care culture is all about taking care of each other. Symptoms of heat stress and heat stroke are devious, because the person themselves does not necessarily notice the signs, but a teammate or colleague can see when something is up. Thus, we also provided different kinds of materials to help Lindströmers learn to notice the symptoms of dehydration and offered instructions on how to prevent them and how to act if they notice them in themselves and their teammates. Also, very often, even the simplest actions, like reminders to get enough hydration and drinking water, are ways to show that I care about my teammate,” adds Puputti. 

The work continues to educate Lindströmers about heat stress and how to safeguard yourself and your team from it as the temperature fluctuations continue.

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Lindström Group