Safety is paramount in every warehouse. Potential hazards can be plentiful for employees, which means proper protections must be in place to prevent accidents on the floor.
The onset of summer means heat-related illnesses are on the rise. OSHA reports thousands of workers become sick (sometimes fatally) due to occupational heat exposure every year, and manufacturing and warehousing are among the most high-risk industries.
In warehouses—where high costs, insulation issues, and energy-efficiency regulations can make air conditioning unfeasible—creative solutions are essential for beating the heat. Keep reading for nine ways warehouse leaders can keep employees cool, as well as how workers can keep themselves extra comfortable this summer.
How to Cool a Warehouse Without Air Conditioning: 6 Ideas
Air conditioning systems are one of many warehouse cooling solutions your business can consider, and they’re often the costliest by far. In lieu of AC units, these six cost-effective ideas can help you lower the temps in your warehouse without breaking the bank.
Install Industrial Warehouse Fans
Industrial warehouse fans can deliver airflow across your building without causing your electricity bill to soar. In fact, a single high-volume low-speed (HVLS) fan can make your warehouse feel up to 11 degrees cooler across over 10,000 square feet—more than twice the size of a basketball court!
While installation can be costly, using HVLS fans is one of the most effective alternatives to AC—and it isn’t just beneficial in the summer. During the winter, industrial fans can circulate rising hot air back down to the floor to keep your employees comfortable without cranking up the heat.
Use Portable AC Units
If you want to target specific hot spots in your warehouse, like storage rooms where airflow is blocked, portable AC units can help. With a wheeled unit, you can even move your portable AC around as temperatures change, or when certain people and equipment need extra help cooling down.
Invest in Dehumidifiers
Humidity can be a huge contributor to heat-related illnesses. In Florida, one of the most humid states in the U.S., heat-related deaths happen throughout the year, even among people who aren’t exerting themselves at work. If your warehouse frequently gets muggy, you can use dehumidifiers to supplement your cooling solutions by making the air more breathable.
Install Screen Doors
Ventilation can be highly effective for cooling a warehouse space, especially if your warehousing activities tend to make your property warmer than the outdoors. Metal screen doors can protect your warehouse from unwanted visitors, pests, and debris while still allowing you to bring more airflow indoors. When your warehouse gets comfortable—or when the outside weather is hot without any breeze—you always have the option to shut your doors and preserve the current temperature.
Reduce Excess Stock
Did you know your inventory could be contributing to the heat? While we all love the security of excess stock, limiting your inventory levels in the summer can greatly improve your airflow. As a result, it can also reduce the amount of power you need to use to cool down your space—a win for your wallet as much as your employee satisfaction.
Planting trees in strategic places outside your warehouse is an eco-friendly solution that can reduce a lot of heat radiation. Placed on the east and west side of your building—especially around window areas and loading docks—trees can block sunlight, lower inside temps, and even contribute to cleaner air.
3 Creative Ideas to Keep Warehouse Employees Cool
Beyond cooling your warehouse with great infrastructure, you can implement a few creative ideas that directly benefit your workers. Learn how to keep warehouse employees cool with three work perks your team members will love.
Provide Plenty of Water
The easiest way to encourage warehouse workers to stay hydrated is by providing plenty of water on the floor. When the weather gets hot, you can set up easy-to-access cold water stations throughout your warehouse using portable coolers and water bottles or large water dispensers and cups.
Offer Cooling Vests
Cooling vests, which have ice blocks inside, are designed to regulate body temperature in warm environments. Providing these vests for warehouse workers—even if they’re simply available for common use—is a great way to maximize comfort and avoid cases of heat exhaustion. If the vests are shared and company-maintained, make sure you have the space needed to refreeze ice packs and regularly clean the vests.
Treat Employees to Popsicles
Want to give summer warehouse workers a reason to look forward to coming in? Consider treating them to popsicles at least once per week, or stock up on frozen treats your staff can freely take. In addition to keeping employees cool, this thoughtful gesture can boost morale during the hottest time of the year.
How to Stay Cool Working in a Warehouse
While warehouse leaders are ultimately responsible for creating a safe work environment, employees can also do their part to optimize their safety and health. Here’s a quick list of tips warehouse workers can follow to stay cool in the summer.
Share this infographic directly with your employees to help them stay cool!
Protect and Grow Your Workforce
Knowing how to keep employees cool in the summer is critical to warehouse safety, especially if blasting AC isn’t a realistic choice. Start by implementing commercial warehouse cooling solutions, like HVLS fans or dehumidifiers, to keep your temperatures low. Then, provide employees with the tips and supplies they need to cool down and stay comfortable on the job.
Once your warehouse is well-equipped for the summer, your environment can better attract and retain the skilled workers. And when you need extra hands for a season—or you just want more hiring flexibility—our contingent workforce solutions can help you connect to the industrial contractors you’re looking for, fast.