Warm Weather Warehouse Safety

With the onset of warmer — actually hotter – weather in Maryland, warehouse managers need to keep the changing environment in mind for the safety of employees and the best storage for your warehouse product. Here are a few tips to remember as the temperature and humidity climb:
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: Be sure drinking stations are available for workers throughout the warehouse. Add some water coolers or cold bottled water to existing rest points within the building, or create new areas for rest, if necessary. It’s important that employees know they can stop for a break without penalty if it’s hot and sticky. Let them know you care about their health.

Think cool: That means both temperature cool and cutting-edge cool. Get creative with ideas like a popsicle party in a cool area of the warehouse one summer afternoon! Have workers stop by for a free frozen treat and a chance to “cool their jets.” Or, just give workers a chance to “think cool thoughts” by raffling off cool items throughout the day. The raffle can be free or carry a minimal fee that is later donated to a favorite charity. Attention-getting items include gift cards to local ice cream shops, ice buckets filled with chilled beverages, or passes to a local water park.

Control Yourself: If you have a temperature-controlled facility, make sure it is in good working condition. Check your merchandise frequently, even daily, to be sure it is surviving the heat. If there is even the hint of an issue, get a repair person in immediately to ward off a bigger problem.

Give it Some Air: Choose open-rack shelving such as wire shelves or cantilevered rack systems for storage of those items that may be heat sensitive. These fixtures provide better ventilation for boxes than closed shelving, and they help beat the humidity.

used cantilever racks

Reverse Psychology: Use dehumidifiers where necessary to negate the humid air. For example, if you have an enclosed storage area or office, a dehumidifier can make that space cooler and drier and more comfortable.

Be Energy Efficient: Just like being energy efficient at home, encourage employees to be energy efficient at work. Keep doors and windows closed when the air conditioning is running, so that the cool air stays in and the warm air stays out. If the temperature drops below 65 degrees outdoors and you have access to open windows or doors, you can take the opportunity to let fresh air inside.

Don’t Get Burnt: Never leave metal shelving or racks in the sun. They will quickly heat up enough to burn someone and they will also burn certain types of product. Metal shelving is great for indoor use where it’s cool, because they too, will keep their cool and transfer it to the stored product.

Close Up Shop: Keep warehouse dock doors closed unless there is a truck being unloaded. Large garage doors left open are among the biggest culprits for incoming heat, and that heat and humidity attracts insects.

Dress Down: Consider a revised dress code for summer that would allow employees to wear lighter-weight, more casual clothes or shorts, if this would not pose a safety hazard. Of course, anything that would be a safety hazard, like open-toed footwear or no head gear, are not negotiable or subject to revision.

Review Warehouse Coverage: Be sure employees who are working in heat-related jobs — such as the loading dock — get enough breaks or shorter shifts.

Don’t Get Spoiled: Check any perishable products daily to avoid spoilage from extreme temperatures.


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