Culture - Jun 23, 2020
Waupaca Foundry's Commitment to our Team Members’ Wellbeing: National Hydration DayAlly Melby and Mackenzie Morey | Waupaca Foundry
National Hydration Day, on June 23, celebrates and emphasizes the importance of staying hydrated. At Waupaca Foundry, proper hydration of our team members is a critical necessity to ensure that everyone remains safe and healthy while on the job. Because of higher temperatures at our locations, and especially during the hotter summer months, we place a high value on educating and bringing awareness to our team members of the importance of staying hydrated.
Waupaca Foundry team members require more water throughout their shifts. Some of Waupaca Foundry’s practices to combat this issue is providing water bottle stations at the employee entrance of every plant and assigning team members — dubbed the Heat Relief Crew — to go around to each station in the plant and hand out water, sports drinks and ice pops. On hotter days, fruit, such as bananas, apples and oranges, as well as vegetables are provided to team members in the break room.
Additionally, water fountains have been updated to water dispensers to ease refilling water bottles and encourage team members to fill their water bottles more often.
Team members are also given “heat breaks” in addition to their regularly scheduled breaks. These heat breaks are in cool, air-conditioned areas. Besides utilizing temperature controlled break rooms and offices, Waupaca Foundry has also created cooling shacks, which are small enclosures with air conditioning. Cooling bands and bandanas are also provided.
During hotter days, every department increases its frequency of rotations to reduce the number of times employees are exposed to heat at their work station. “For example, a core room employee placing cores into an oven would rotate to a job away from the oven,” reports, Waupaca Foundry Plant 5 Safety Manager, Andrew Kress.
Waupaca Foundry also trains team members annually on signs and symptoms for dehydration, with increased emphasis during summer months. This includes communicating signs and symptoms of dehydration as well as monthly safety talks. Hydrations charts are also located in restrooms to help team members remain aware of dehydration symptoms and signs.
Waupaca Foundry continuously strives to better educate our employees on the importance of hydration as well as provide them with the necessary tools to stay healthy and hydrated.
“Education begins day one. It is important to know the best practices of staying hydrated as well as the early warning signs of dehydration. That is why we place such a high importance on the subject in training as well as in our communications,” said Jon Loken, Waupaca Foundry director of safety and health.
Best practices to remain safe and hydrated include:
- Drink plenty of fluids to replenish electrolytes. This includes Gatorade and other sports drinks, as well as water. Employees should stay away from diuretics — or dehydrating drinks — such as soda, coffee or tea.
- Take frequent breaks in cooling zones.
- Be aware of yourself as well as others.
Signs and symptoms of dehydration include:
- Dry or sticky mouth
- Low urination and/or dark urine
- Dry, cool skin
- Muscle cramps
- Rapid heartbeat and/or breathing
- Sunken Eyes
- Lack of energy and/or sleepiness
- Confusion and/or irritability