5 Warehouse Safety Tips For Summer

May 14, 2022

As the warmer months start to hit, several potential risks present themselves. These risks can overlap with the demands put on workers in a warehousing environment and the need for workplace flexibility. Also, as the temperature changes climate-wise, there are other unique considerations a warehouse operator needs to make to ensure the proper safety of their workers. While some of these may be obvious, you might be surprised at how many can go overlooked. As an employer, it’s essential to understand how to make workplaces accessible and safe for your employees, especially during summer.

Here are our top five tips for summer warehouse safety.

Warehouse safety checklist for summers

1. Hydration

Workers required to work in the heat should have plenty of liquids available to drink when they are thirsty. Working outdoors or in hot factories or mines is particularly vulnerable to dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. These conditions can be avoided by drinking enough fluids and resting in relaxed shaded environments. Cool water is recommended for most people as the best fluid for hydration, but some may want access to sports drinks. Keep in mind that people can lose a significant amount of liquid and not feel thirsty, so encourage your workers to drink regularly.

2. Frequent breaks

Regular rest breaks allow workers to rehydrate, eat a light snack, and avoid mental and physical fatigue. Taking regular intervals also increases enthusiasm and can ultimately increase workers’ productivity. We recommend that employees take a 5-10 minute break every hour. If there is a lot of physical work involved, employees taking more frequent breaks will be better able to stay alert and focused. Employers can encourage their workers to take sips of water or even consume a small snack. For example, a simple apple can typically provide enough energy for an additional hour of alertness. Without taking time to recharge, fatigue can lead to frustration and stress. Even if you can only agree upon 1 break every couple of hours, allowing your staff to refresh will increase morale and focus, leading to higher productivity, reduced risk of error, and better overall quality of the work performed.

3. Heat safety training

In addition to the apparent importance of regular breaks and drinking plenty of fluids, heat safety training should always include advice on what to look out for in yourself and others. It would help if you taught your employees to recognise signs such as extreme thirst, irritability, headaches or dizziness and high temperatures. Many people are unaware that these are the most common early symptoms of various severe problems. If these symptoms are ignored, an individual could quickly become physically unwell, leading to a complex medical situation.

The symptoms of heat-related illness can be challenging to spot, especially if you’re new to working outside in the summer. Your team members need to know what to look for: headaches, nausea, dizziness, red or flushed skin, and confusion are all signs that someone is suffering from dehydration. If you or one of your teammates experiences these symptoms, move to a shaded area and rehydrate immediately. Call emergency services directly if the signs are severe as fainting or seizures.

So, ensure that your workers are informed about the risks associated with working in heat, particularly those at risk due to medical conditions or medications. Hopefully, you never have to deal with heat stroke, but it’s best to be prepared.

4. Make use of the right PPE

The summer months present a whole new host of warehouse challenges, but none more severe than heat-related dangers. Exposure to heat can put workers at risk for heat stress and various other safety issues resulting in accidents or injury. To avoid this, wearing the appropriate PPE can keep you safe from physical hazards. To prevent heat-related problems that could compromise your safety and well-being, remember to stay hydrated and take regular breaks, use fans to improve airflow throughout the warehouse, wear lightweight clothing under your PPE if possible, and in extreme cases, even consider wearing cooling vests to take away some of the burdens of the heat.

5. Equipment maintenance

It’s essential to take adequate precautions to protect your equipment from the heat. Most warehouse equipment is designed and built to withstand a range of conditions, including hot weather, but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be taken care of when ambient temperatures rise. A great place to start is by ensuring adequate airflow throughout your facility, which will keep all your employees cool during the warmer months and help reduce the risk of equipment overheating.

You’ll need to be extra vigilant about keeping your manual handling equipment, such as forklifts, in top condition in the warmer months. Start by ensuring that your equipment is frequently maintained to prevent overheating and train your forklift operators to recognise the signs that a machine may be starting to overheat. You should also ensure that your conveyor systems are adequately maintained with more frequent checks of bearing seals and by keeping watch for signs of overheating. This will reduce the risk of lost time and productivity due to an equipment breakdown.

A well-maintained warehouse can increase your productivity and lower your costs and improve workplace safety. Choose the best warehouse storage products from your trusted suppliers