While working in a warehouse during the summer, it’s important to stay hydrated, take more frequent breaks, avoid skipping your maintenance schedule, and more.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is quick to cite the alarming statistics; of the more than one million warehouse and construction workers in the U.S., 14 die every day in accidents on the job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports there are more than 2.8 million nonfatal on-the-job workplace incidents each year, and it impacts every industry, not just construction and warehousing.
If you’re driving a forklift or performing some other task in the warehouse industry, chances are high you’ll be busy this summer. We thought it would be good to review some important safety tips to help keep you safer in your warehouse job this summer.
Summer Sun Isn’t All That Fun
While the summer sun can feel great on your shoulders if you’re at the beach, it can also be dangerous to warehouse workers. Sweating helps maintain your body’s core temperature, but it’s very important to stay hydrated, especially at the summer temperature heats up. You can help the body function properly by drinking copious amounts of water and eating healthy food. Pay attention to your body during the summer months, and watch for heat rash, dizziness, or a loss of concentration. These are all potential signs of heat stroke, a potentially fatal onset of illness. You can protect yourself by following these steps:
- It may sound counterintuitive, but stay covered up. Wear loose, long-sleeved cotton shirts in light colors.
- Stay hydrated. Always have water nearby or Gatorade, which can replenish electrolytes lost during excessive physical activity.
- Don’t skip your breaks—and take more if you can. Make sure you have an apple or crackers or some other small snack along with the fluids to keep your energy up.
- Avoid large amounts of sugar or caffeine.
- Wear a long-brimmed hat, not a baseball cap, and try to shield yourself from the sun whenever possible. If you work in a shipyard, a dock, or another location outdoors, wear sunscreen.
- If you’re on any medications, talk with your doctor about any negative effects (including from the sun) that could occur on the job.
- Wear UV-absorbent sunglasses for eye protection from summer glare.
- If you’re new to warehouse work, you must build tolerance for the heat and humidity. Your employer should gradually acclimate you to summer conditions to protect you from heatstroke.
Watch for the most common signs of heatstroke, both in you and your coworkers. They include:
- Heavy sweating
- Loss of focus
- Muscle cramps
OSHA has a great fact sheet on how to protect workers from the effects of hot summertime temperatures. We recommend that every warehouse worker also reads it to understand how serious heatstroke can be and how to prevent it.
Heatstroke is serious. It can lead to seizures and even death. It can even cause you to make mistakes on the job that could lead to further safety risks for you and your coworkers. IES is committed to helping keep our valuable workforce safe. If you are looking for a summer warehouse job, contact one of our recruiters today to explore your options.