If you’re “fortunate” enough to live in a part of the country that experiences all four seasons, you’ve probably dealt with your fair share of winter headaches. Cold temperatures, icy conditions, freezing pipes – for as excited as people get about the holidays, the excitement can sure wear off after you have to salt your parking lot for the fourth time.
Winter can bring its own specific maintenance needs and issues to warehouses and storage facilities, too. While the usual repair tips and safety precautions still apply to winter, there’s also some things you can do above and beyond the normal routines to keep your workers, your product, and your facility safe and productive specifically when the temperature starts to drop and the snow piles up. Read on for a few examples and ideas:
Create A Winter Emergency Plan: One of the worst things about winter is how fast the weather can change, often with only a day or two of warning. For cases like this, make sure to create a series of emergency plans to deal with things like inclement weather, delayed shipments, absent employees, and the like. Go over trouble spots that have affected you in the past (damaged equipment due to the previous year’s snow, for example) and make sure to have steps in place that can mitigate the impact of these issues and keep operations flowing as smoothly as possible.
Provide Cold Weather Gear: Depending on the work some of your staff does, they may need to go outside to retrieve items from a shipment or transport goods. Instead of forcing them to rely on their own coats and gloves for warmth, provide heavy-duty warming and protective clothing to keep them warm during their journeys into the frozen tundra. (Or at least the cold parking lot.)
Secure Your Installations: Things like wire shelving and industrial storage need to have extra security and defense against the cold weather – even if they don’t rust, the moisture and cold weather can affect the floor around them or the products stored on them. Work twice as hard to keep your floors clean and dry to prevent accidents, make sure everything is carefully mounted and bolted, and even if your shelves are safe you still need to protect the items on them – consider some shelving enclosures to keep your goods safe from incoming snow or debris if they have to be located in an area near a door or a large opening.
Check Seals: Especially for warehouses that stock perishables or sensitive goods, making sure the cold can’t get in is essential. Make sure all of your doors are able to be closed fully, make sure any of your seals around things like pipes and vents are intact, and protect your shipping/receiving areas to make sure the doors don’t have to be open any longer than they have to be to keep the cold out as best as possible.
Using these tips is a good way to get started on protecting your warehouse through the colder months. And hang in there – spring is only a few months out.