Summer is traditionally a busy time in warehouses and a recent boom in eCommerce popularity has compounded that activity. Along with increasingly extreme weather situations and an expanded focus on job safety, these are just a few reasons why you should be focusing on summer warehouse safety once the season rolls around.
Why Is Summer Dangerous for Your Warehouse?
Warehouses are inherently dangerous worksites to begin with, but seasonal temperature and weather changes increase that risk of danger. Higher temperatures raise the body temperature of those working in a warehouse, and cooling off becomes difficult in an environment that doesn’t have safety measures in place. When that core body temperature becomes too high, heat-related illnesses like fatigue, loss of productivity, heatstroke, or even hospitalization can occur. Forklift drivers who spend much of their time traveling in and out of the warehouse are particularly at risk as they are exposed directly to sweltering heat and sunlight.
Summer Safety Tips to Remember
If you’re a warehouse manager, ensure that your current summer warehouse safety procedures include these considerations, tips, and best practices — on top of the measures you’re already taking.
Encourage frequent water breaks, put out plenty of bottles or water coolers for employees, and allow forklift operators to keep water bottles on their equipment when they’re working. This is probably the easiest way to make a considerable difference. Staying hydrated prevents cramping and fatigue, both of which can greatly increase the chance of having a forklift accident.
Keep Up With Maintenance
You should already have a regular maintenance schedule for your equipment, but it should be followed line by line during the summer. You should also create a list of additional maintenance tasks as they relate to the effects of weather and heat on your forklifts to avoid seasonal wear and tear.
Watch for Overheating
Just like a car on the highway in the heat of summer is more likely to overheat than on other days during other seasons, so too can a forklift easily overheat in the right conditions. Check coolant levels before every shift and take a look at hoses to identify any leaks or disconnection, both of which can cause overheating.
Check Forklift Tires
The heat of the summer months can accelerate wear and tear across the entire forklift, but this wear is prominent in the forklift’s tires — they will crack and possibly even burst in the higher temperatures. This is another part of the forklift that you should check before every use and takes steps to repair or replace at any sign of an issue.
Add Some Fans
There’s a good chance you already have large, industrial-powered fans in your warehouse, but there’s also a good chance that they’re not doing enough to keep your employees cool during the hot summer months. Work with an experienced warehouse parts distributor to learn about your best options and how to choose fans that work to help improve the overall energy-efficiency of your warehouse.
Up the Sun Protection
Educate forklift operators about the best ways to shield themselves from the sun if they’re spending most of their workday going back and forth between the warehouse and the outdoor area of your property. Protective clothing, sunscreen, and even equipment canopies can limit the time that drivers are experiencing the harsh rays of the sun beating down.
Watch for the Signs
Heat-related illnesses set in gradually, with many signs that trouble is ahead. Watch for these physical changes as precursors and educate your staff on what they mean and why to get help:
- Heavy sweating
- Loss of consciousness
If it’s been a while since you’ve introduced new equipment or forklifts to your warehouse, now might be the time to research fleet upgrades. The same is true for loading dock doors and ventilation fans because aging warehouse equipment is bound to be a safety risk this summer.
When you’re ready to make safety-related improvements in your warehouse, contact our team of experts to distribute, install, and maintain the upgrades you make. We provide sales, installation, service, and repair for the critical equipment in most warehouses. We are dedicated to providing the critical sales and service your warehouse needs to run smoothly and safely — reach out to our team today.