How to Keep a Warehouse Cool During Hot Weather | Infographic
Posted by: admin on August 5, 2021
Let’s face it — most warehouse employees do not like to work in extreme heat. But if you’ve ever worked in a warehouse, you know that extreme heat is sometimes unavoidable. As the employer, it is your job to protect your workers, your products and materials, from the effects of high temperatures.
How Can Extreme Heat Impact Warehouse Workers?
Extreme heat can cause fatigue and heat exhaustion. When workers feel tired, they can lose focus on the task at hand and make mistakes that lead to accidents and injuries. Additionally, heat exhaustion can sometimes result in heatstroke, which is life-threatening. It can also affect worker morale and productivity.
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Tips for Cooling a Warehouse Space
Your first task is figuring out how to cool a warehouse as much as possible. This may include analyzing the layout of your warehouse and making changes.
Installing high volume/low speed (HVLS) overhead ceiling fans will keep air moving and is one of the best answers on how to cool a warehouse in summer. Some HVLS fans are as large as 24 ft. in diameter, and they can keep the air circulating over more than 20,000 square feet of space. HVLS fans can also lower temperatures by 7°F or more. Small, portable fans will help cool down workers in areas such as assembly lines or packing stations as well.
Insulating a warehouse’s ceiling and outer walls will keep cool, nighttime air from escaping during the day. Insulation will help year-round since it also keeps heat in during cold winter days. Other benefits of insulation include added fire protection and keeping noise levels down.
3. Portable Air Conditioners
Use portable air conditioners to cool down workers in areas where they’re needed the most, such as near heat-generating machinery. Portable air conditioners cost less to operate and are more efficient than air conditioning designed to cool down an entire building. They can also be rented or purchased.
In warm, humid climates, dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air and make it feel cool and comfortable. Dehumidifiers aren’t recommended for use in hot, dry climates; in these climates, dehumidifiers may make air feel hot and humid.
5. Truck Shelters
Truck shelters are used in shipping and receiving areas, and they enable workers to create a seal between a warehouse wall and the back of a truck. These shelters help keep hot air outside on summer days and hold heat inside during winter. When using truck shelters, ensure overhead loading dock doors are properly sealed.
6. Vinyl Strip Curtains
Strip curtains on entry doors and overhead dock doors can help keep out hot air while letting people and products pass through. Clear vinyl strip curtains can also be used inside a warehouse to help keep heat from moving between different areas.
When it’s time to replace your warehouse’s roof, check out “cool” roof options. Traditional roof temperatures can reach 190°F or more on hot summer days, and much of this heat will move from the roof to the warehouse. On the other hand, a cool roof is light-colored, so heat can be reflected away from your warehouse. Keep in mind that even though re-roofing is expensive, it can save you money in the long run. In fact, a cool roof may help you reduce your energy costs, and it may last longer than a standard roof.
8. Install Screen Doors
One option you might not think of is to have screen doors installed in your warehouse. Just like with a home, these doors allow air to flow through while keeping other things or people out. If your business is in an industry that requires a secure warehouse, leaving a door open may not be an option. Screen doors can offer an alternative while meeting regulations.
9. Protect Cold Storage
Another consideration for how to cool a warehouse in the summer is protecting any cold storage you have on-site. Whether you have refrigerated products or use refrigeration for materials, you need to ensure that a power outage doesn’t cause the refrigeration system to fail and lose your products. Regular maintenance is critical for these components. You may also want to ensure you have enough backup generators to keep this area operating in a power outage.
10. Monitor Warehouse Supplies
Monitor all warehouse supplies and materials to ensure they can withstand high temperatures and humidity. If your warehouse regularly reaches extreme temperatures in the summer above what certain products or supplies are guaranteed for, you may find they are defective. Supplies and materials stored at temperatures above what is recommended could cause your products to fail. You’ll either need to find a way to keep them cool in the warehouse or store them elsewhere.
Anytime your warehouse is providing storage for any items with a maximum temperature, you may want to consider installing an alarm system. The alarm can sound if the area reaches a temperature above what you designate as safe. This allows you to implement emergency procedures to protect your workers, materials, products, and your business.
How to Cool a Warehouse in Summer: Tips for Small Areas
Cooling a warehouse often involves renting or leasing warehouse cooling systems or equipment. Before doing so, you should determine which areas need to be cooled. Some warehouses may only need certain areas to be cooled, while other warehouses may require cooling for most of the building.
A small area is defined as 5,000 sq. ft. or less, and it may include office spaces or supply areas. In most cases, small warehouse cooling units can do the job in these areas. The two most common are spot coolers and portable evaporative coolers (PECs).
Spot coolers can cool spaces that range from 200 sq. ft. to 2,000 sq. ft. They plug into a wall outlet and vent exhaust through a window or drop ceiling away from the cooling area.
PECs can cool spaces between 1,000 sq. ft. and 5,000 sq. ft. They require electricity and tap water and can reduce temperatures by up to 20°F.
How to Cool a Warehouse in Summer: Tips for Large Areas
When it comes to warehouse cooling ideas, spaces bigger than 5,000 sq. ft. are considered large areas. In these cases, warehouse cooling units such as swamp coolers or larger air conditioners may be the best options.
A swamp cooler works well in areas that range from 1,000 sq. ft. to 5,000 sq. ft. It can lower temperatures by up to 20°F, even in an outdoor space.
For areas larger than 5,000 sq. ft., combining two or more swamp coolers can bring the temperature down. Swamp coolers are energy-efficient, too.
Trailer-mounted air conditioning units also tend to work well for cooling large spaces. These warehouse cooling systems are set up outdoors and provide indoor cooling through 20-in. ducts. They come in three sizes: 5, 10, and 25 tons. These units can be stacked on top of each other to cool large areas, and they have their own internal electric systems to prevent power surges. Furthermore, trailer-mounted air conditioning units can be installed on a temporary or permanent basis
Warehouse Cooling Ideas: How to Work in a Hot Warehouse
Warehouse workers are happier and more productive when they’re comfortable — that’s why it’s important to keep the warehouse cool during hot weather. If you allocate time, energy, and resources to prepare employees to identify the signs of extreme heat, you can ensure your workers are well-equipped to mitigate the symptoms of heat exhaustion before they escalate.
All warehouse workers should be able to identify the symptoms of heat exhaustion. Signs to look for include confusion, red skin, fever, and nausea. Also, workers should watch for weakness, dizziness, vomiting, and heavy sweating.
To avoid heat exhaustion, ensure workers drink plenty of water and wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Give workers enough break time to cool down during hot weather as well. Keep medical supplies on hand to treat workers who show signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. If workers go into shock, have convulsions, or pass out, call for medical help right away.
Safety training can have far-flung effects on warehouse workers, particularly when it comes to mitigating the effects of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Workers who know the warning signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke can quickly identify the warning signs of either condition in themselves or others. Plus, these workers may be able to provide tips and recommendations to help keep a warehouse cool and limit the impact of extreme heat in their work environments.
Help Your Warehouse Workers Manage Extreme Heat
Summer heat can be problematic for warehouse workers nationwide. But, safety training can play an important role in helping warehouse workers beat the summer heat.
If your warehouse workers enroll in a safety training course, they can learn about a wide range of on-the-job dangers, including those associated with extreme heat. At the same time, warehouse workers can learn about OSHA compliance guidelines and why it is crucial to maintain a safe workspace. The result: your warehouse workers can do their part to create safe work conditions in which every employee can thrive.
CertifyMe.net is a leading provider of workplace safety training programs for forklift operators and other warehouse employees. We offer extensive forklift safety training courses that teach workers the ins and outs of OSHA compliance, as well as provide employees with the insights they need to mitigate workplace safety dangers. To learn more about our course offerings or to sign up one of our courses, please contact us online or call us today at 1-888-699-4800.
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