Winter is coming.
If a warehouse isn’t properly prepared for the cold, products could be damaged and workers could be injured or even killed. And, preparing your warehouse for the freezing cold temperatures is not something you should do at the last minute.
Instead, begin your preparations during the autumn months so you have a good amount of time to order everything you may need and make all of the necessary changes. Here are some of the things you’ll need to do to have your warehouse ready for the winter and avoid these dangerous situations.
The cold can make your warehouse shelving braces brittle and cause damaged items to deteriorate to the point where they break. Now’s the time to make sure everything that could be destroyed by the cold is replaced. This is especially true with outdoor shelving and other items.
Being encased in ice can damage some materials beyond repair, leading to an accident. If there’s any chance your warehouse structures could ice over, you need to make certain there’s nothing damaged or worn.
This doesn’t just include shelving and pallets, though. Be sure to check over all of your equipment and vehicles, too. The last thing you want is to have equipment breaking down outdoors and in the cold.
Check Climate Controls
If you have a section of your warehouse designed to stay warmer to store materials and products that require specific climates, be sure to have the systems checked over. You don’t want to have that part of the warehouse full of products only for the heating system to crash.
Have all of the necessary maintenance done ahead of time so it’s ready for the colder months. Also make sure the heat is working in your break room so employees who work out on the dock have somewhere to go to warm up.
Bring Items Indoors
Most products shouldn’t be left outdoors during the winter, especially if it’s snowing or icy. If you’ve had shelving or other storage solutions set up outside, now is the time to move them indoors if that’s an option.
One mistake many new warehouse managers make is not taking into account that products can’t always be stored outdoors during the winter. This means they need to reduce the amount of product and material that the warehouse is currently holding in order to bring everything indoors.
Purchase Safety Materials
Colder weather brings a need for specific materials.
For example, you’ll want to have some salt on hand so you can salt the steps and ramps around the warehouse if they ice over. This will help melt the ice and provide traction for employees and vehicles. You may also want to put down some non-slip mats and change the tires on some vehicles to those designed for the snow and ice. Get de-icer for vehicle windshields as well.
You may also need to winterize vehicles that you won’t be using during the colder months by adding fuel stabilizer to their gas tanks and performing other tasks necessary for vehicles that won’t be driven for several months.