Is your facility ready for winter? Take these 4 steps now.
[Image Attribution: Nordroden via Getty Images]
At Global Industrial, we understand the importance of getting a head start on seasonal prep. Here are four steps you can take to winterproof your warehouse and ensure your team can make the most of the colder months.
1. Get Ready for Snow
Even a small amount of snow or ice can cause headaches for your crew if the timing is right. Make sure you have the supplies needed to protect your people, products, and facility.
- Opt for heavy-duty tarps and covers to keep moisture away from machinery, tools and other equipment.
- Pretreat sidewalks, driveways, and entryways with ice melt or rock salt to keep snow and ice from building up, reducing the risk of injury due to falls.
- Use spreaders and sprayers to evenly distribute salt granules, sand, and ice melt in heavily trafficked areas. Use a walk-behind spreader to make quick work of an icy sidewalk, and a slide-in salt and sand spreader affixed to a truck to cover a larger area such as a parking lot or warehouse dock.
- Don’t skimp on snow removal, especially if you have expansive shipping docks or parking lots on your property. Consider a plow attachment for a golf cart, riding mower, truck, or tractor. Sweepers affixed to a forklift not only clear snow and sludge, but you can use them to clean debris from your floors year round. Be sure to keep blowers, shovels, and scrapers handy for quick snow and ice removal.
- Keep your team warm and avoid product damage with heaters for a variety of applications, including portable options that add warmth as needed. Use our cheat sheet to find the best fit for your heating needs.
- Stop water and snow from being tracked indoors by outfitting your interior and exterior entrances with industrial floor mats. Consider a heated walkway mat for entries where snow tends to accumulate.
2. Check Off Your Maintenance To-Do List
Run through your maintenance punch list before daylight hours become fewer, temperatures get colder, and snow and ice block your way. Now is an excellent time to check the status of everything from heating systems to exterior lighting, and to replace, clean, repair, or upgrade as needed.
- Ensure your heating and cooling systems work at peak efficiency by checking and replacing your air filters.
- Some insects and vermin seek out warm buildings during cold weather. Make sure rodent traps are in working condition; spot-treat spaces that accumulate spiderwebs; and add repellent devices in problem areas.
- Check exterior lighting and replace bulbs and lamps or repair fixtures as needed. This task is much easier to do before snow starts piling up.
- Power outages can bring your operations to a halt. Make sure your emergency plan includes battery and lighting backups along with generator power, and inspect all systems regularly. Safety tip: Never run a generator indoors or in partially enclosed areas. Only operate generators outdoors and far from windows or ventilation intakes to avoid a deadly buildup of carbon monoxide.
- A frozen pipe that bursts can ruin inventory and damage your facility. Cover exposed pipes with fiberglass or foam-based insulators. Use blanket heaters to prevent freeze damage to materials you’re storing.
- Have a maintenance technician service your heating system, replacing gaskets and seals to keep units running in top condition all winter long.
3. Clean Up After the Holiday Rush
’Tis the season to have your facility looking less than its best. Use the slowdown after the seasonal peak to square away your warehouse for the new year.
Do a Deep Clean
Sweep, mop, and scrub the dirt, debris, and mud off your facility floors, and wipe down surfaces. Don’t forget these go-to supplies and equipment:
- Replenish or upgrade everyday cleaning supplies, including brooms, rags and sponges, cleaning solutions, garbage bags, and trash bins.
- Pick a vacuum based on your space needs. A stick or robotic option may be ideal for the warehouse office, while a backpack or wide-area vacuum works better on a manufacturing floor or in storage areas.
- Deep clean heavily trafficked warehouse floors with a floor scrubber. For smaller spaces, go with the classic combination of broom, mop and elbow grease.
- Use a heavy-duty floor burnisher to give your floors a sheen that shows off just how “on top” of the holiday rush your team is.
Take Stock of Your Storage
Set yourself up for success in the new year by doing an inventory of your storage options. Optimize your footprint by expanding vertical storage and integrating pallet racks and heavy-duty shelving into warehouse zones. Ensure you have enough containers, bins, and totes to store smaller components so they are easy to find when you need them.
4. Prepare Your Crew
If you haven’t trained your team to use the plows, generators, and other equipment you’re storing on the premises, then your winter prep work isn’t complete. Teaching your employees to use them properly is a critical step. Run through all operational and safety protocols, from attaching a plow to a forklift to clearing snow from the parking lot to properly using a generator.
Don’t forget gear: High-visibility, heavy-duty jackets, gloves, hats, and coveralls keep your team warm while maintaining the visibility required in busy warehouses and docks. Educate your team about the signs of cold-related illnesses, such as frostbite and hypothermia, so they can seek treatment immediately.
Getting your warehouse and crew ready for winter starts now. Connect with our team at Global Industrial to find the supplies you need to keep your space in optimal condition from one season to the next.
The information contained in this article is for informational, educational, and promotional purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. It is the reader’s responsibility to ensure compliance with all applicable laws, rules, codes and regulations. If there is any question or doubt in regard to any element contained in this article, please consult a licensed professional. Under no circumstances will Global Industrial® be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on this article.