November 20, 2023
Warehouse workers, at the best of times, have a hard job. Long days standing and walking, heavy lifting, and deadlines are the reality of the work, add winter with its snow and ice into the mix and the job can quickly change from hard to downright dangerous. For workers, the risk of injury is greatly increased while also making the work slower. For employers, the slowdown in work speed presents productivity challenges and the risk of a team member getting injured only multiplies those challenges.
In this post we will look at how to get your warehouse ready for winter by implementing a warehouse winter safety plan that identifies potentially dangers, and the steps to be followed to reduce those dangers.
Keep an eye on the weather forecast throughout the day, remember that conditions can change quickly in the winter. You don’t want to get caught by surprise. Know when it’s going to snow so you can be prepared.
Identify high traffic areas, and designate them as ice-free areas. At regular intervals throughout the day inspect these areas to ensure that they are free from ice buildup and to de-ice if needed. Likely candidates for ice-free areas include walkways and entries, loading docks, outdoor ramps and stairs, and any other high traffic areas. Create an inspection schedule and assign a team member to inspection and de-icing duty.
Designate where there should be winter shovels and de-icer available and ensure that the equipment is in its proper place.
Thick anti-slip matts with beveled edges are critical around doorways to prevent slips. Designate which doors are to have matts and verify that the matts are in place, and clear of ice buildup every morning.
Snow and ice falling from the roof and gutters of your warehouse is a major danger. Everyday do a tour of the building to determine if there are any potentially hazardous buildups of snow or ice overhead. Additionally, schedule regular removal of snow from the roof if your building has an ongoing issue with buildup.
Make sure that all workers know the risks, and risky areas for winter slips at your warehouse. Remember that not all workers will have experience of working in winter conditions. As an employer or manager, it is your duty to ensure they are prepared to work safely.
Encourage workers to express safety concerns and to speak up if they encounter a slippery area that ought to be de-iced. The ideal safety culture is one where all employees buy in and actively look out for potential dangers.
Set a standard for proper de-icing, and train all employees involved in clearing ice to meet the standard.
If you are caught in a winter storm and it is not feasible to keep all designated areas de-iced, adapt your workflows when possible, to only use areas that are safe. If you need to close an entrance because you cannot keep it free from ice, do so. Communicate the situation, and the adaptation to all workers.
Provide warehouse workers with hi-visibility gear that can be worn over winter clothing as well as traction aids for boots to sure grip on icy surfaces. Even with a good de-icing plan, it is probably not feasible to keep the whole premise free from ice.
While creating a strong winter safety culture at your warehouse is critical, it is certainly not without its inconveniences. Using removeable ice cleats on boots is a very effective way to reduce falls on ice and maintain worker productivity, however the problem is that works need to put on and then remove the ice grips every time they go in or out. The ICETRAX MID-FLIP solves this problem with the Easy-Flip strap, allowing you to quickly hide the spikes when stepping indoors.
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