Justin Moats, Product Strategist at Evotix, a leader in EHS software solutions, offers advice on how to beat the heat this summer and keep warehouse staff cool during the warmer months.
Hot weather isn’t only a problem for customers and inventory, but it can also result in employees being uncomfortable in their working environment.
With summer in full swing, it’s time for workplaces to prepare for warmer weather, making sure they beat the heat and keep temperatures comfortable for their staff to work in.
As it’s difficult to control the temperature of a large space, warehouses need to be temperature controlled to ensure employees are safe. When workers are exposed to warm temperatures, it can lead to lower levels of productivity, as well as decreased retention.
In the worst cases, uncomfortable levels of heat can impact workers’ health and well-being, leading to serious implications, such as heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke.
To combat this, Evotix reveals 11 ways to keep your staff cool this summer:
Move stagnant air with fans
High volume, low-speed ceiling fans can be very effective in cooling down large spaces, with larger HVLS fans able to cool down spaces over 20,000 square feet. By installing fans and circulating stagnant air, the temperature can be lowered by as much as 7°F.
Provide portable air conditioners
Using small air conditioning units for ‘spot cooling’ allows you to cool down areas where they’re needed the most, such as near heat-generating machinery. Portable ACs can also be more economical as they cost less to operate than building a whole system. With this, they also create more flexibility and convenience, saving companies from having to cut holes in the walls or install ductwork.
Install metal screen doors
Screen doors are a great way of increasing airflow and circulation in a warehouse, especially for those that don’t have air conditioning. Installing a screen also prevents any unwanted pests and intruders from entering the space, creating a cleaner and safer environment for production and staff.
Warehouses in humid climates can greatly benefit from using dehumidifiers. Dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air and make it feel cool and comfortable, ensuring your staff is able to work in more pleasant conditions. Just beware – if you are located in a hot, dry climate, it’s best to steer clear of dehumidifiers as they may make the air feel hot and humid.
Have truck or dock shelters
Many warehouses have shipping and receiving areas, meaning workers spend a lot of time loading and unloading. With a truck or dock shelter, a seal is created between the warehouse wall and the back of the truck, helping to keep hot air out of the warehouse and keep staff cool.
Invest in insulation
Insulation plays a huge role in controlling the temperature of your warehouse year-round, keeping cool air in during the summer and warm air in during the winter. In the summer, having insulation will keep cooler, nighttime air from escaping during the day. For warehouses that have air conditioning, good insulation also ensures cold air stays inside, and your system is operating as efficiently as possible.
Upgrade your roof
A warehouse roof plays an important role in temperature control. When selecting or replacing a roof, choose a light-colored roof that will reflect the sunlight’s rays instead of absorbing them. While traditional roofs can reach temperatures as high as 190°F, a lighter, new roof will keep you cooler and can save you money in the long run - leading to lower energy costs and a better workplace for your employees.
Switch to LED lights
Changing the type of lights can also lower the temperature of your space. While many warehouses have traditional lights, like metal halides or fluorescent bulbs, these lights generate excess heat. Alternatively, LED lights produce very little heat and cut energy costs by not letting out additional heat.
Opt for vinyl strip curtains
Placing vinyl strip curtains on entry doors and overhead doors can prevent hot air from getting in as people and products pass through. Inside the warehouse, it can also be useful to use clear vinyl curtains as workers pass through different areas to keep the temperature controlled and provide visibility into people movement to avoid accidents.
While it’s important to maintain your cooling systems, keeping a comfortable temperature in your warehouse also means maintaining other equipment. Any motor or engine machine that produces heat while in use, such as a forklift or conveyor belt, should be regularly maintained to ensure they produce as little heat as possible.
Training and technology
In this industry, workers rely heavily on expert knowledge and training. Equipment must be frequently and properly inspected and maintained, and your teams trained on best practice in order to work safely and avoid accidents. We’d advise specific transportation and logistics EHS software to share information about risks and safe practices, capture remote inspections and train your team on the go with microlearning.