The end of the year is upon us, which means cold, snowy, and icy conditions are possible throughout most countries.
Safety should always be a top priority in a warehouse, where people work with heavy machinery and equipment is constantly moving. But the changing weather conditions can increase the risk of environmental hazards in the workplace.
Here are some safety tips to consider to keep your workers safe this winter.
1. Watch the doors.
Not only do open doors let in cold, blustery winds, it can lead to standing water in entryways. This creates a slip hazard on its own, but can also turn into ice if the door is left open, even a little, for too long. Make sure all doors close tightly and place floor mats and coverings on both sides of a doorway to give workers a place to wipe their wet boots as they come in.
2. Keep the floors clean.
Tracking in water and slush from outside can also translate to trails of water on the slick warehouse floor. Watch for areas where people stand, and wet footprints appear, and make sure they’re cleaned regularly. The last thing you want to deal with is a slip and fall. Keep yellow caution signs handy and use them when needed.
3. Remember to stay warm.
Check vents to make sure no excessive cold air is coming in, but also remind employees to keep hats and gloves handy. If they work with equipment that doesn’t allow for wearing gloves, turn the heat up a little, so their hands don’t cramp up. Personal heaters are good so long as they’re properly installed, grounded, and used — and turned off at the end of a shift to avoid becoming a fire hazard.
4. Keep the coffee and tea available.
For workers who have to come in and out of the elements, having a place to warm up between trips is not only a nice gesture, it can help them stay warm and keep their body temperature regulated. A quick cup of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or other warm beverage can help fend off illness too!
5. Offer a quick refresher course in safety.
No matter how long your team has been working in your warehouse, the change of seasons is a good opportunity for a few reminders on safety hazards and what to do if unsafe conditions occur. Remind your team where they can find yellow caution signs; point out areas at higher risk for slippery conditions during the winter; show them where emergency first aid kits are kept, and offer other basic safety instructions. This is information that can’t be shared too often!
Winter always feels like the longest season, and it’s easy to get complacent as time goes on. Keeping your warehouse workers safe is everyone’s job, and there’s no better time to get started than before the flakes start to fly.
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