Marley Products Keep Construction Sites Warm, Safe and Productive

Keeping the Construction Site Warm, Safe and Productive
By: Andrew Martin, Product Manager, Marley Engineered Products

Creating ideal working conditions for construction sites is more than a matter of comfort – it’s also a concern of safety and efficiency. Cold temperatures can significantly hinder productivity, while proper heating can help keep workers safe and prevent delays if faced with temperature or moisture-related
snags. Whether your goal is to maintain temperatures or control humidity, portable electric heating solutions can help.

Warm Workers Are Productive Workers
Stuffy, hot conditions can make any task seem more laborious and fatiguing, draining the energy from workers. Environments that are too cold, however, are equally detrimental to employee focus and productivity.

Studies show that workers are most efficient when they are warm and comfortable. A study from Cornell University revealed that increasing the working environment temperature to warmer thermal zones can save employers significant money by reducing errors and improving employee focus. When an insurance company increased office temperatures by less than 10 degrees, the productivity gains amounted to saving 12.5% of their wage costs per worker.i

Similarly, another study found temperature can directly impact social relations. When conditions are warm, workers are more open to close, collaborative relationships with colleagues and employers. When an environment is too chilly, workers feel more detached and isolated.ii

To avoid unnecessary dips in productivity and morale, employers may adjust the work environment temperature to keep workers warm and comfortable, both indoors and outside.

Temperature Challenges on a Construction Site
While office-based organizations have the luxury of simply adjusting a thermostat if the workplace becomes chilly or hot, construction companies must deal with the unpredictability of Mother Nature. Whether crews face an ice storm in August or a heat wave in January, they must be prepared to keep
the project moving despite challenging temperature changes.

Cold weather conditions bring slippery ice, chilling winds and persistent snow that can handicap power tools or electrical supplies, as well as impact worker efficiency and safety. When outdoor crews are exposed to freezing temperatures or cold, damp conditions for too long, they can experience cold stress, which occurs when external factors drive down body temperature and cause cold-related illness and injuries. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are several factors that lead to cold stress:

• Low air temperature
• Wind speed
• Air moisture
• Contact with freezing surfaces such as ice

In these conditions, frostbite is a top concern, as it can quickly set in before workers are aware they are in danger; as well as trench foot, hypothermia and possibly permanent tissue damage. Similarly, unexpected ice creates unstable footing, resulting in falls, injuries and increased costs or delays. Furthermore, snow drifts and precipitation can create wet clothing and surfaces, putting workers at increased risk of illness or injury and creating new physical challenges on the site.

Advancements in meteorological forecasting and tracking tools such as Doppler radar, satellite and computer modeling are helping modern construction crews plan accordingly for weather conditions down to the hour. Nonetheless, unpredictable shifts in temperature can catch a crew off-guard and lead
to expensive setbacks and delays when workers battle through challenging conditions.

Electric Heat with Construction in Mind
To combat weather-related obstacles, construction crews might invest in portable electric heating solutions that bring on-the-spot warmth to remote sites while taking up minimal space at a low cost. Modern portable electric heating sources address a variety of construction challenges:

• Projects that require a dry environment: Cold, wet or humid weather can slow down projects that require mudding drywall or paint. Using electric heating to manage temperature and humidity can help meet deadlines and prevent rework.
Safe and clean heating: Heating solutions should not introduce toxins or safety hazards into the workspace. Electric heating is cleaner and safer than gas heating because it does not emit any of the byproducts that gas-powered heaters yield. It can also be used indoors or outdoors.
Diminish the risk of corrosion and mold: Moisture is one of the most destructive elements on a construction site because it encourages mold growth in porous building materials, rot and warping in wood and corrosion on metal. An effective heating strategy includes moisture mitigation to prevent decay, premature failures and the growth of harmful organisms in building materials.
• Enhance productivity, safety and efficiency: Effective heating helps to promote worker health and comfort by providing a comfortable and safe work environment free from exposed hazards, such as fumes or mold.

When selecting an electric heater for a construction site, managers should consider both the size of the crew and the site itself.

Medium to large construction sites:
Heavy-duty high-temperature electric blower heaters, such as the MSDH Series and MEDH Series from Marley Engineered Products are recommended. Some blower heaters, such as the MSDH Series, are not only portable and can service large areas, but these units can also be ducted to route heat to desired areas.

Smaller worksites or home workshops:Smaller fan-forced heaters, such as the BRH Series, MMHD Series and MCM Series, or infrared heaters, such as the ARL Series and QHRA66 Series, provide portable and personal heating comfort in smaller spaces.

Whether a construction crew is finishing a long project while staving off early signs of winter, launching a new project at the start of spring or battling a brief drop in temperature, there is an electric heating solution that can meet their needs. Having portable heating solutions on hand will save valuable time,
boost efficiency and keep crews happy – rain or shine.

i Hedge, A., Sakr, W., & Agarwal, A. (2005, September). Thermal effects on office productivity. In Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting (Vol. 49, No. 8, pp. 823-827). SAGE Publications.

ii IJzerman, H., & Semin, G. R. (2009). The thermometer of social relations mapping social proximity on temperature. Psychological Science, 20(10), 1214-1220. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02434.x

About the author: Andrew Martin is a product manager at Marley Engineered Products®, a leading North American designer and manufacturer of reliable comfort heating and ventilation solutions for residential, commercial and institutional buildings. Recognized by contractors, architects, engineers and HVAC professionals for providing a wide range of high-performance, reliable heating and ventilation solutions, Marley Engineered Products’ brands include QMark®, Berko®, Fahrenheat® and Leading Edge®.

Marley Engineered Products’ manufacturing operations are based in Bennettsville, S.C., with regional sales representatives located throughout the U.S. and an administrative office in Burr Ridge, Ill.