In just about any job setting, conditions can get hot throughout the summer months, and that risk may be especially prevalent for warehouses across the country. As a consequence, logistics supervisors would be wise to ensure their employees have all available resources to beat the heat and avoid serious health risks that could set a facility back considerably.
The following are five tips to help warehouses keep everyone safe when temperatures rise:
1) Have plenty of water available
Hydration has become a bit of a buzzword in recent years, but the reason why is simple: It's key to staying healthy, especially when it's hot out, according to Certify Me. For that reason, it's vital that you have plenty of cold water on hand for workers, and ample opportunity for them to take breaks and drink it throughout the day. Experts recommend hydrating every 15 minutes in hot conditions, so when the mercury rises, companies need to do more to ensure workers are properly hydrated.
2) Properly maintain all equipment
One thing decision makers may not consider when it comes to heat-related safety risks is the fact that high temperatures can put a lot of stress on the equipment employees use every day, such as forklifts or pallet jacks, Certify Me advised. If these items were to break down in some way at an inopportune time, they could lead to greater injury risk, so it's vital for everyone working with or around them to understand the issue and do to more routinely ensure the devices are in good shape.
3) Keep it cool
Most warehouses have strong air conditioning systems that ensure the space stays cool, but some may not reach all parts of the facility or haven't been properly maintained, according to Smith Corona. If employees have complained of warmer than normal conditions or the system as a whole hasn't received a tune-up in some time, now is the time to assess and address the issue as soon as possible.
4) Teach the signs of heat stress
Just as you would train your employees for safety around new equipment, it's also smart to train them about the warning signs that they or their coworkers might be suffering from heat-related health issues, according to Acadia Insurance. These can include confusion, excessive sweating, headache, extreme thirst, cramping, etc. When the signs are first noticed, action should be taken immediately. That could be as simple as getting them to a cool room and having them sit or lie down, but if more extreme measures need to be taken - such as calling an ambulance - making sure everyone knows what to do is important.
5) Look out for one another
Part and parcel with the step above is the need for employees to keep a close eye on one another and encourage communication and teamwork when someone might need a break, Acadia noted. Warehouse executives should be encouraging their workers to to take breaks as needed at this time of year, putting their personal health ahead of the need to get projects done as quickly as possible.