When you start working in cold storage the first, most obvious considerations are clothing and safety gear. Coats, coveralls, boots, gloves, hi-viz vests and hard hats are your top priorities, but is there anything you can do beyond that to make sure you’re properly prepared?
Indeed there is. While all companies require you to have all the proper gear before starting work (whether they lend it to you or expect you to purchase it), few will also list accessories you should bring to make the job easier.
These are the kind of items you might not necessarily realise you need until you started work, and the same rules which apply to normal warehousing don’t always apply to cold storage. That in mind, you often need to look for specialty items, or adapt cold weather gear for other activities to your needs. Here’s a list of items that you should consider grabbing before you start.
Mobility is vitally important in cold storage work, and from time to time you’re probably going to either be down on your knees, or balancing something on them. Most coveralls and salopettes come with room or even pockets for knee pads, and after a week of red, sore kneecaps you’ll be wishing you took advantage of that. The floors are hard, cold and spending a long time knelt on them is about as much fun as going to dinner with somebody who chews with their mouth open.
More modern knee pads are designed for maximum mobility and comfort. They fit snugly, are lightweight and you’ll barely even notice they’re there when you’re walking around. Some, like these are designed to go with a specific type of salopettes, while others are designed to be worn under pretty much anything, but tend to be more pricey.
One of the things that might not be immediately obvious about working in cold storage is that a normal box cutter isn’t going to cut it, if you’ll excuse the awful pun. The blade release mechanism will seize up and stop working properly if it gets too cold, and the last thing you want is to be left trying to warm a knife in your hands so you can cut open a box. That in mind, you want to make sure you have a decent safety knife.
You could either buy a few disposable ones, some of the more basic standard issue models, or splurge a bit and get one with a movable edge. The movable edge is the best option, as it gives you more versatility, but any of these are fine.
I can’t think of any line of work where it doesn’t help to have a pen on you at all times, but warehousing is pretty high on the list. Eventually, you’ll have to mark something down on a box or sheet, and, as ever, it’ll be cold. In case you weren’t already aware, pens don’t work so well in the cold, especially at freezing temperatures. Ink isn’t quite so effective when it stops being a liquid.
Happily, freezer pens are cheap and in abundant supply. Some companies will have a bulk supply on hand, but if you want to get your own, pens like this one and this one are both viable, reliable options, and cost-effective.
Regardless of how good the lighting is in the warehouse you’re working in, there’s always the chance that you might need a bit of additional illumination. Most modern torches are fairly weather resistant, but the most hardy ones tend to be the bigger, more cumbersome models, which are immensely impractical for this kind of work. You need something which can fit comfortably in a pocket, and doesn’t restrict your movement when in use.
One option is to get a decent head torch. Most will work in low temperatures but if you’re in a freezer you’ll need an especially resistant one, like this, and they tend to be pretty pricey. Alternatively, there are a range of water and cold weather resistant pocket torches on the market, such as this. They do’n’t weigh much, have a solid battery life and shine extremely brightly.
Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop.