Did you know you could theoretically decrease your picking error rates by regulating your warehouse’s temperature?
With rising summer temps the air inside your warehouse may grow stagnant. Sweltering heat coupled with increased humidity can lead to low productivity levels and dangerous safety hazards. Fortunately, the inverse is also true.
Below is some background about how heat and humidity can negatively affect your distribution center and what you can do about it.
Heat related conditions can affect individuals who work both indoors and out. In the warehouse, a lack of airflow coupled with heat is more than just uncomfortable. Combined, these two can quickly devolve into a dangerous pair.
The increased temps mean the body has to work extra hard to cool itself. As a result, the extreme loss of fluids in the form of sweat can quickly cause brain fog from dehydration. These delayed reaction times can result in serious injury either by impending heat stroke or the mishandling of heavy machinery.
However, employees alone aren’t the only cause for concern. The heat can also damage your inventory and create costly product losses. As materials get moved from transport to warehouse and back out again, these temperature swings can cause expansion and contraction that is damaging to many products.
What’s more, other automated electronic controls are also sensitive to overheating. The downtime of these computerized machines can sink your productivity and severely impact your operations.
The amount of moisture in the air is known as Humidity. It can greatly compound heat and increase the risk of heat related injury as well as product damage.
Anywhere hot air and cool air come together, lookout for humidity. Generally, during warmer months, humidity levels are not recommended to increase beyond about 55%. Tell tale signs of humidity include moisture formation on window interiors and/or metal shelving.
Left unattended, this moisture build up could eventually corrode and collapse your shelving units, taking your product along with it. It can also lead to mold or mildew that could compromise air quality or damage your inventory.
What can you do
- Invest in industrial, high volume warehouse fans or portable AC units.
- Check machinery and service as necessary to prevent additional heat output. (This is especially true of conveyor belts.)
- Recognize that not all employees can withstand the same amount of heat, and treat each one on an individual basis. (New employees may acclimate at slower rates and seasoned employees may take medications, which complicate their heat tolerance.)
- Set out watering stations throughout the warehouse and encourage employees to take frequent breaks to hydrate. (If you see symptoms of possible dehydration or heat exhaustion act immediately!)
- Use vinyl strip doors & curtain partitions at your dock doors to prevent the escape of cooled internal air.
- Regulate humidity levels with Industrial dehumidifiers to keep your facility safe and comfortable.
With a little preventative maintenance and a bit of education around how to protect your staff from heat-related illness, summer can come and go without impacting your operations.