Winter is out in full force in Indiana, and as usual it brings a lot of inconvenience. From fighting snow and ice on your daily commute to the low temperatures in your warehouse, it’s not much fun. All that winter weather can also be cause for accidents in the workplace, especially those that employ forklifts or other similar machinery.
We’ve compiled some tips here to help encourage safe warehouse operation during the winter months, because the most efficient warehouse isn’t very useful if its employees aren’t safe and productive.
For most forklifts, burden carriers, personnel carriers, and other equipment in your warehouse fleet, colder weather can usually affect how they perform. Understanding how they’ll perform during winter can help your warehouse operate safer and more smoothly.
For electric engine forklifts, it’s fairly common to experience reduced cycle times in cold weather, decreasing the production you get out of your lift truck. Internal combustion engines like propane and diesel-powered forklifts may have a harder time starting in frigid weather, so they’re best kept in a well-insulated area when not in use. IC engines will usually lose fuel economy in colder temperatures, so be sure to keep an eye on fuel levels throughout the day.
Condensation can also accumulate and freeze on the surface of your equipment too, so be sure to check lift chains, fork tines, fuel caps and more to make sure they’re clear of ice before starting work.
Let’s face it, warehouses usually aren’t the best insulated places, especially in Indiana. They can get swelteringly hot in summer, and downright frigid during the winter. From December through February, warehouse employees need to stay warm in order to work efficiently and stay healthy. Here’s what warehouse managers can do to help.
? Make sure your work area is as well-heated as possible. It may not be feasible to set up portable heaters all around your workplace, but make sure employees can regularly get warm and that all designated break areas are comfortable.
? Employees will likely bundle up for the cold weather. Educate your staff on how that can impact their work. More layers typically means less mobility, heavier people, and higher risk of snagging clothing on machinery.
? Winter in Indiana means snow and ice on the roads, which can lead to understaffed shifts if people can’t make the trip into work. Make sure employees know the minimum amount of people required for any given task, and not to attempt working while understaffed.
In addition to that snow and ice on the roads, expect to find snow, slush, and water tracked into the workplace, especially around entrances and exits and places like loading docks that see frequent traffic.
Slush and moisture tracked indoors can be a risk-factor for slips and falling accidents. Be sure employees know to minimize moisture tracked in, place “Wet Floor” signs in problem areas, and educate employees on the risks associated with winter moisture. If possible, place non-slick mats in spots where there’s lots of in-and-out foot traffic like loading docks to add an extra layer of safety.
If puddles build up, they can also increase the risk of electric shock, as water can conduct live currents. Be aware of this and clean up any moisture near live machinery.
With the proper knowledge and preparation, you can make this Indiana winter a breeze. For more information on safe practices in your warehouse, especially for your forklift and equipment fleet, call Tynan Equipment Company at 317-597-4003 and get in touch with a warehouse management pro.
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