If you live in a country with four seasons, there is no way to escape the challenges of winter for manufacturing plants. Layers of heavy snow and icy surfaces will become part of the existing hazards you must watch out for, especially for employees. Manufacturing, however, is a critical part of operations. Your business might not afford to stop production despite harsh working environments. There will be days when you have to because of extreme weather, but the dangers will still be present when operations resume.
The best approach for keeping employees, materials, and equipment safe during winter is preparedness. There should be protocols to help your business get through the season without sustaining damages and financial losses. The preparations might have to start months before, with these actions being your top priorities.
Appropriate Employee Attire
Everything about business adaptation should always involve considering the health and safety of employees first. The extreme weather can provide many complications to their already complicated jobs. Unfortunately, stress could become worse. The cold will affect their performance, health, and wellness. As a result, companies must enforce a dress code that keeps them warm, even if it means the production rate slows down.
Hypothermia is a condition developed when people stay too long in the cold, even if they do not have to do anything. Exposed body areas will shiver, making it necessary for manufacturing plant workers to cover themselves head to toe while performing their tasks. Here are a few pieces of clothing you might have to utilize for your workers:
- Hard hat
- Insulated gloves or mittens
- Waterproof footwear
- Face masks
- Heating pads
- Winter jackets
- Thick pants
It might be challenging to work with all those layers of clothing, but it is the necessary shield that keeps people safe. Tasks that require bare hands might not suffer from slower progress. Fortunately, everyone knows when winter will arrive, allowing them to invest heavily in those parts before the season comes.
Manufacturing environments are already among the most dangerous workplaces for the average employee. Despite a steadily declining case count of fatalities and injuries in those areas, a company might suffer from a few accidents involving their workers. Unfortunately, the numbers could rise when the flooring around and inside the establishment is not in its best condition.
Slips, trips, and falls are among the common causes of workplace injuries, and icy paths and snow do not help those numbers decrease at all. The consensus might be melting ice, but pools of water can make the entire establishment more dangerous due to electrical shock hazards. Your facility maintenance teams must ensure that floors remain dry and safe during winter, starting from the outdoor driveways and pathways. It might be easier to keep the indoor flooring safe. Still, businesses must stay cautious to avoid a flood from sipping into entry points.
Once you ensure people’s health and safety in the freezing manufacturing plant atmosphere, the next priority will be materials and equipment. Those supplies will be your business assets, and exposing them to the winter cold might not be ideal for your operations. One of the most challenging parts is keeping liquid warm, which might be difficult if it requires specific temperatures. As a result, investing in bulks of drum heaters will be necessary for your liquid containers.
Your equipment might also not do well in the cold, with wetness and dampness resulting in malfunctions. Fortunately, you can find plenty of resources to help you keep your business items warm. Heating equipment might be an additional investment, but it prevents your products and tools from going to waste.
Making the dress code and manufacturing floor safe for your employees might help them perform their tasks through winter. Still, it doesn’t mean they are safe from the situation. Add to that the stress brought by the pandemic, and their health might be in a complicated state. The extreme cold could lead to health problems, tissue damage, and death. The pandemic could also cause depression. Fortunately, constant temperature checking and longer breaks could help your employees recover. If they feel uncomfortable or tired, assisting them or sending them home might be ideal. Your managers on the site should be in charge of monitoring the manufacturing workers’ health. Having extra medical personnel in the establishment should be a top priority if you have enough in your budget.
Manufacturing plants are dangerous throughout the year. However, extra precautions are necessary during the winter. Once you create a safer and healthier workplace, your operations will continue despite a slower production rate. There will be more winter preparation tasks according to your specific operations. But these elements should be present for all types of manufacturing work.