Winter weather can have a huge and costly impact on warehouse operations. Having a winter preparedness strategy for your warehouse will help your facility stay on track with safety and productivity. Top winter safety concerns in the warehouse include temperature control, infrastructure maintenance, dry surfaces, airflow, lighting, sealing and weatherproofing, and personnel care. We’ve compiled a list of area-specific winter safety tips to get you thinking about preparing your warehouse for winter.
- Before bad weather hits, walk through the facility to evaluate potential risks.
- Create winter preparedness strategies based on problems in previous years and potential trouble spots.
- Stock winter safety items like de-icing materials, snow shovels, first aid products, fuel, etc. ahead of time.
- Make sure all personnel understand the chain of command and have a clear plan in case of key-personnel absences.
Heating System and Air Circulation
- Have the HVAC system inspected to prevent the need for emergency maintenance during cold temperatures.
- Make sure the facility has proper airflow and ventilation and routinely clear ice and snow from any vents and exhaust systems.
- Inspect any back-up systems and have a fuel reserve.
- Consider investing in industrial space heaters and fans to circulate warmer air.
Plumbing and Gutters
- Check that there are no leaks in any plumbing that could cause liquid accumulation and possibly freeze.
- Insulate exposed pipes if they are not designed for exposure to extreme cold.
- Regularly clear all drains and gutters to prevent overflows.
Docks and Doors
- Check that all seals are intact to prevent heat loss and to keep the elements out.
- Keep all dock equipment clear of ice and snow to prevent blockages.
- If your dock isn’t already equipped with them, install air curtains and high-speed doors to mitigate exposure.
Paths and Workspaces
- Keep all pedestrian walkways, vehicle paths, and workspaces free of ice, snow, and slippery conditions.
- Consider investing in heated mats for paths and stairways if snow and ice removal is a continuous problem.
- Cover exposed metal handles and rails with soft grips, especially in outdoor workspaces.
- Check equipment for ice and snow build-up before use.
- Secure safety railings and other support structures.
- Winter means less daylight, so make sure that all areas and equipment have adequate lighting at all hours of operation.
- Provide your operators with cold weather gear so that they can comfortably – and safely! – operate equipment and have extra gear on hand.
- Provide warm spaces for personnel during breaks.
- Make sure personnel understand the signs and symptoms of cold-related health risks like frostbite and carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Have a team meeting to discuss winter warehouse safety tips to make sure your operators are prepared for the season.
Use these winter safety tips to build a strategy for preparing all areas of your warehouse for winter. Ice and snow can make your productivity slip, but having a plan for winter warehouse safety will help you skate through the season.