Without the proper precautions, warehouses can be a dangerous work environment. And colder temperatures introduce a new set of challenges. So, what practices should you put in place to keep your team safe? Here are five top winter warehouse safety tips.
Top Winter Warehouse Safety Tips
1. Protect Workers from the Cold
Especially if employees are working outdoors, make sure they have the right gear to protect them from the cold. This includes warm layers of clothing, hard hat liners, gloves and proper footwear. You may decide to supply equipment, ask workers to bring their own and/or offer stipends to help with the cost. In any of these scenarios, have extra supplies on hand in case someone forgets theirs. Also, teach your team how to recognize and respond to the signs of hypothermia and frostbite. These conditions can quickly become dangerous if not treated properly.
2. Maintain Appropriate Temperatures
Try to keep the temperature of your warehouse appropriate for both outdoor, indoor and indoor/outdoor workers. Those working in the elements will need a place to warm up. However, you don’t want employees who are bundled up to overheat if they are moving between indoor and outdoor settings. The OSHA Technical Manual recommends temperatures between 68-76 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity ranging between 20 to 60 percent.
3. Set Up Water Management Supplies
Icy surfaces, ice melt and wet floors can all lead to nasty slips, trips and falls. Be proactive by addressing potential slippery-surface hazards before they turn into accidents. Place absorbent matting and/or slip-resistant treads at entryways. In addition, have water management supplies, such as ice melt, mops and wet floor signs, readily available and in convenient, easy-to-access locations.
4. Address Health and Wellness
The ongoing pandemic combined with the regular flu season could create additional health challenges throughout the winter. Therefore, encourage your employees to continue germ-busting behaviors like sanitizing and hand washing. Depending on your circumstances, you also may choose to encourage mask-wearing, offer on-site vaccine clinics and/or install HEPA filters. To keep their workforces as safe and healthy as possible, many organizations have expanded their overall health and wellness programs too. For example, Amazon recently introduced a new mental health benefit in response to the emotional challenges of COVID-19.
5. Provide Proper Instruction
All the right materials and procedures will be useless if your employees don’t’ know how to use them. Take the time to instruct your team in everything from frostbite prevention to sanitizing protocols. The beginning of the winter season is a perfect time to hold a safety-review class, but don’t stop there. For the best results, give ongoing reminders plus shout-outs for any jobs well done.
Are You Looking for More Ways to Improve Your Warehouse?
Connectology posts articles ranging from Increasing Efficiency Through Supply Chain Software to 5 Management Techniques to Increase Your Team’s Productivity. And if you need to find safe, conscience, reliable employees, we can assist with that too! Our recruiters place talented candidates with top manufacturing organizations throughout the upper Midwest. Hire faster and smarter this winter. Contact Connectology today!