Working in a warehouse in the middle of summer can be one of the most difficult jobs out there.
Some warehouses, especially the older ones, aren’t that well insulated or air-conditioned. Even those that are can’t make the area around the loading docks any cooler. Having the loading bay doors open all the time sucks out most of the cool air from the area, plus the large trucks that back in to the dock boards are hot from driving down the highway for hours on end, so you have the heat from their engines to deal with, too. Then there’s the stuffy interior of the trailers themselves. All in all, it’s a hot, sweaty job.
Fortunately, there are a few ways you can keep your warehouse cool during the summer.
Have your Air Conditioning System Inspected
Before it gets too warm out there, have a professional inspect your HVAC system and do any necessary maintenance that needs to be done. You don’t want to find out that you can’t cool down your warehouse the day the temperature hits the triple digits. Having this type of yearly inspection and maintenance may also help you avoid a costly issue later on by catching it early.
It may not be possible to air condition your entire warehouse. Some areas, such as the loading docks, will actually cost you a lot of money if you try to air condition them because so much of that cool air will be lost. However, you should put fans in these areas and throughout your warehouse. This will at least keep the air moving, and that helps to make it cooler. You can even put small fans in your forklifts and other vehicles so that the drivers can get a nice breeze.
Cover Outdoor Areas
If you have an outdoor area, put up a shade of some type. Many open-air warehouses have tarps that can be hung across the aisles and over the pallets to keep the sun off them. Being in the direct sunlight makes the heat much, much worse, plus it can lead to horrible sunburn for your employees. Keep them cooler and protected from the sun by creating these shaded areas.
Keep Everyone Hydrated
One of the major issues during the hot summer months is dehydration. You want to be sure that all of your employees have access to cold water throughout the entire day. If someone were to pass out from the heat while driving a forklift, it could lead to a major accident, and you would most likely be found liable for any injuries or damages.
You should also have at least an air conditioned break room or office where employees can spend their breaks and lunch period out of the heat. This will give them a chance to cool down and lower their body temperature before going back out to work.
Remember that your employees’ health needs to be your first concern, and in some areas where temperatures climb over 100 degrees, heatstroke and dehydration are serious issues. Do everything you can to keep them cool!