For most regions, at least one cold snap has hit by now, and we know: it’s only going to get worse. As we
look winter down the barrel, warehouse workers need to ensure they’re prepared to work safely in these conditions. Even indoors, warehouses get dangerously cold in the winter, and it’s just as important to protect yourself from the elements inside a warehouse as out.
Here are five important tips from OSHA on how employers can prevent disaster in winter warehouse conditions:
- Train employees appropriately for the condition. You want to ensure that employees can both recognize the symptoms of cold stress and respond to them – whether it’s through first aid or an action plan (or both). In addition, make them aware of the different kinds of hazards that can be present, like slippery surfaces, and how to avoid or manage them.
- Make engineering controls available. Offer any ability possible to control the temperature or environment when it nears a dangerous condition. Where safe, make radiant heaters available. Shield or offer shields from drafts and wind where appropriate. Let the employees take control of the situation when they need to.
- Execute safe work practices. This includes everything from providing the proper tools and equipment for workers to safely do their jobs, to scheduling around the warmest parts of the day, to providing warm break areas. See OSHA’s full list of safe work practices here.
- Provide clothing that protects from the cold as part of your PPE. If possible, provide things like jackets, gloves, parkas, boots, or hats as part of your personal protective equipment collection. If one of your workers forgets cold-weather gear or doesn’t have appropriate personal winter clothing, you are assured he or she stays safe.
- Instruct employees how to dress for the cold. Even if you’re able to provide some warm wear, make sure your employees are told how to dress appropriately. This includes layering (OSHA recommends three layers), loose-fit clothing (tight clothing restricts blood flow), waterproof gloves, hats, and waterproof boots.
OSHA doesn’t have a specific standard for working in cold conditions, but the above tips will help you keep everyone safe. Remember, help prevent employees from sweating, but do encourage them to keep moving. Do what you can to protect the floor from becoming slippery, and make sure your employees don’t have to fight a potentially slippery surface to push or pull equipments, carts, etc. It’s much safer to use something like a power tugger to move any kind of a wheeled load. The operator won’t slip, and neither will the cart or tug.
A power tugger can also keep product moving so that areas remain as clear and safe as possible while giving every employee the ability to keep their blood moving without working up a sweat. Contact Load Mover Inc about how a power tug improves your working conditions all year long: 952-767-1720; firstname.lastname@example.org