The importance of promoting homeostasis for your cold store employees
Pictured: South African cold store workers should not have to resort to bubble wrap to keep their feet warm while working at cold temperatures.
In some situations the human body and motor cars have similar responses. Temperature is one. Overheating doesn’t work with internal combustion engines. Gaskets blow and cylinder heads warp. At the moment many of us have experienced the awful feeling that comes with elevated flu temperatures. Conversely, if one has driven a car during a Canadian winter, one knows about plugging it in at night to keep the sump oil from becoming slushy. Much the same can happen to human blood. The human body works best when running at 37.5 degrees C. This is called homeostasis.
Experiments have shown that a drop of even 0.5 degrees C below core Homeostasis has negative effects. The brain cannot add figures. As this wasn’t good for air force navigators in WW2, they soon got issued with sheepskin clothing. Planes were also lost when the pilots either lost consciousness or their hearts stopped. This happens at core temperatures of plus 29 degrees C. After getting really cold, the human body needs to be rewarmed carefully. Sudden exposure to heat stimulates the circulation system to pump cold blood from the limbs into the body core. This is called the “after drop”. Many rescued sailors during World War 2 were “killed with kindness” from heart attacks after being warmed up too quickly.
To get the best out of cold store personnel, these hard won lessons need to be borne in mind. Improving stock control and decreasing product and equipment damage in freezers can sometimes be as easy as issuing good protective clothing. Some ethnic groups do not have the same ability to cope with cold as others. This was the subject of an argument in the British military when African troops taking part in Canadian winter exercises felt they needed additional protection over and above that issued to Northern Europeans. It is true that many Africans do not naturally have what is called the “Hunting Reaction”, although it can be improved through acclimatization. Diet is also important and working at sub-zero without good protection can lead in time to the over consumption of sugars with all their associated dangers.
Barpro Storage has been using Delf Cold Wear for more than twenty years to keep its cold store technicians warm. One of our clients in Port Elizabeth understands that their employees are more comfortable and productive when wearing Delf Cold Wear. They said ”Yes, it is more expensive than other brands, but in keeping people warm for longer periods it decreases damage and improves productivity.”