Us Furlongs came to the UK from Africa almost twenty years ago. Mr Furlong was born in Whitburn, so he was “coming home”. On arrival, the first thing we had to do was find work.
I ended up working in a fashion department in a big store. The family found that really funny seeing I have no interest in fashion. I enjoyed the people, the customers and the time, before the shop was taken over by a “Chain”, when it was a wonderful family business that all we happy, loyal staff, adored.
But in the Winter it was warm there. And in the Summer it was terribly hot. In the UK at that time, there were laws controlling how cold a workplace should be for the workers – but nothing about maximum heat.
I noticed that some of the staff were having “funny turns”, dizziness, inability to think properly, looking pale or flushed, feeling exhausted. They were really hard working people, on their feet for hours in a hot, stuffy shop, being very physically active.
I recognized these symptoms immediately! Heatstroke. Heatstroke or Heat Fatigue is a most common thing in Africa and people know how to avoid it. But no one I spoke to seemed to know anything about it.
The situation in the shop blew up one day when the manager of the restaurant, hurled a glass of water across the room at the millionth member of staff asking for a glass of water because they “felt funny”.
So I went to the Store Director. I explained about heat stroke. I suggested a water cooler in the staff room and salt pills.
Amazingly, all these things were provided without argument.
And I got elected as Staff Liaison Officer. 🙂
And the difference to the staff, was remarkable. All they needed was enough water to drink and salt. Worked a treat!