Keeping It Cool in the DC

Aug 13, 2008 1:54 AM  By

It’s August — and man, is it hot out there!

As you probably know, employee productivity drops when it gets too warm in your warehouse. Not only do workers get fatigued earlier in the day, the heat can affect their concentration, which in turn can reduce order accuracy. Employee safety can also be compromised: as workers get stressed, they’re more likely to make mistakes.

Here’s a few simple things you can do to cool down your warehouse and help your workers beat the heat:

Consider high-volume, low-speed fans
High-volume, low-speed fans are a great alternative to air conditioning and can help make your warehouse a lot more tolerable on a hot summer day. These large fans have a thin blade design and use slow rotation to move large amounts of air with very little energy. They can be mounted on the high ceilings of your warehouse and positioned over heavily manned areas to maximize cooling.

These fans work especially well for warehouses that are partially (or poorly) air conditioned or which have naturally cooler and warmer sections. They mix the cool air, which tends to sink, with the warm air, which tends to rise, to arrive at a more comfortable overall air temperature.

HVLS fans have an advantage over floor-standing or wall-mounted fans in that they don’t thrust air horizontally across the warehouse floor, which can cause paper and packaging materials to fly around.

Keep cool air in
If you have air conditioning in your warehouse, then you should do everything you can do to boost its effectiveness. Use weather stripping on doors and partitions to prevent the cool air from escaping into non-air conditioned parts of the building.

In addition, install vinyl strip doors and curtains at your loading docks to cut down on the massive loss of cool air that occurs every time a delivery arrives/departs. These tough plastic sheets have slots cut into them to allow workers, packages, hand trucks, carts and equipment to pass through while minimizing air exchange. By keeping air conditioning from bleeding into other areas, you can improve its effectiveness and keep employees happier.

Encourage workers to whet their whistle
Encourage your employees to drink plenty of water — and train them to recognize the symptoms of dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Place water coolers at high traffic areas to remind workers to rehydrate. In fact, give your workers a verbal reminder to get a drink every now and then: You’d be surprised how many workers ignore their bodies’ cries for more fluids!