Site managers and warehouse owners know only too well the challenges faced in winter. One such challenge, caring for outdoor loading equipment in cold weather, means careful consideration. Whether it is particularly cold temperatures, or adverse weather, such as snow, ice, wind and rain, winter poses many risks to both the equipment itself and the personnel that uses it. It can also pose risks to the efficiency of the business operation.
With this in mind, we take a look at loading bay solutions, tips and tricks to ensure your loading bay equipment and personnel get through the winter months unscathed.
The first step is to schedule regular inspections to identify problems before they get too serious. Before winter starts, conduct a full examination of dock levelers, seals and restraints, as well as any other moving parts. What you need to look for is signs of wear, corrosion or any damage. A failure to conduct proactive maintenance on such issues could lead to the cold weather making such weaknesses worse.
Lubricants can thicken or even solidify in cold weather, and this can increase friction in moving parts, which can cause damage. Seek out the best lubricants for cold weather and apply them to your loading dock equipment where necessary, such as hinges, rollers and other moving parts.
Protect against ice
If ice accumulates anywhere on the loading dock, it can cause damage to equipment and risks to personnel. It is vital, therefore, that you assess the loading dock before anything is used on particularly cold days. If possible, it might be a good idea to install heating elements or de-icers on dock levellers and seals. This can help to prevent the problems that ice can cause. Additionally, pay close attention to pathways and the dock itself, and deploy anti-slip treatments wherever possible. It might also be worthwhile reminding staff of the need for safety footwear to be worn at all times.
Test for water and weather resistance.
The seals on loading bays can play a vital role in preventing cold air moisture and debris from entering the warehouse. A full inspection of the seals for wear and tear, and replacement of any corroded seals with weather resistant materials could help to ensure temperature control is optimised, and your equipment doesn’t suffer as a result of water and weather ingress.
Coatings For Corrosion Prevention
Cold, wet weather can accelerate how quickly metal components corrode. This can compromise your loading equipment. Applying anti-corrosion coatings to springs hinges and structural supports can help to prevent this. It is wise to inspect the services right throughout the winter, and recoat where necessary to avoid further problems.
Train Your Staff On Winter Practices
It is not only the job of the warehouse manager or owner to look out for problems during winter. If your staff are aware of the risks that winter poses, then they are more likely to report any issues so that you can take action to prevent problems from occurring. Not only that, but training your staff in how to work in winter safely can help to reduce accidents. Safety signage that reminds them of the potential of ice risks in winter and other safety risks will help to keep everyone safe.
Taking a careful and holistic approach to caring for your loading bay in winter, and following the steps identified above will certainly ensure you have fewer issues when cold weather hits. By concentrating on proactive, not reactive fixes,, your warehouse should be efficient and safe all throughout the coldest season.