The cold storage industry is notoriously tough. Working in sub-zero temperatures anywhere from between 0° freezing all the way down to -50° will naturally take its toll on both the bodies and minds of cold store workers.
These unforgiving conditions will, in turn, bring a set of unique challenges to business owners and managers who struggle with high turnover and absenteeism from work. These challenges have serious implications for the running of the business and can cost time, money and potentially damage reputations and jeopardise client relationships.
Whilst there’s no denying that it takes a certain type of person to work in freezing conditions day in, day out, there are a number of simple things that employees can do to make working days easier and more comfortable to reduce staff turnover and increase attendance.
There are currently no national health and safety guidelines in the UK that stipulate how long a worker should operate in a cold store. The general rule that our team at FlexiTog sees a lot with our clients, is that workers will tend to have a ten-minute break at least every hour to prevent any dangerous effects of the cold. These effects include breathing difficulties, frostbite and Hypothermia.
Break times and frequency will, however, depend on the nature of the business and also the temperature in the cold store. For example, in environments like freeze-dried coffee plants, workers should minimise their time in a freezer to 30 minutes or so at a time, given that temperatures drop as low as -50°. Whereas cooler environments between 0° and -10° will enable longer shifts and fewer breaks.
Every business should carry out their own health and safety assessment where they’ll identify risks and hazards in the workplace to help protect the welfare of their team. The findings of these risk assessments will likely inform the strategy on how long and how often break times will be to keep workers safe. It’s important to note, that getting feedback from your team on this will go a long way in making them feel valued. After all, your cold store workers know better than anyone what they need at work so take time to listen.
Provide the proper kit
It’s a no brainer that if you’re warm and comfortable in your clothes, you’ll work better and you’ll be happier at work. That’s why our collection of workwear is designed with comfort front of mind. Our product development team understands the complex roles that each person has in the cold store, and has addressed each of these challenges to find the perfect solution.
Reaching for something high up? For increased flexibility, we designed the unique FlexEasy feature that’s used on the arms and upper back to provide maximum freedom of movement. A side panel design also prevents the jacket from riding up exposing the body to the cold when stretching.
Neither too hot or too cold
Cold store clothing should be thermoregulating because keeping a constant temperature is important for safety, comfort and productivity. Inferior clothing won’t offer the same warmth or breathability properties as FlexiTog, which can lead to workers sweating and making their clothes wet, cold and uncomfortable. Using innovative Clo Insulation gives our clothing the perfect balance between breathability and warmth with an edge in performance.
Compliant with EN342
Skimping on kitting out your team with quality workwear clothing is a false economy. Don’t risk the health and welfare of your team, and the reputation of your business. As a minimum, you must always ensure that workwear clothing meets the European standard, EN342. These clothing standards are to keep your workers safe, warm, and comfortable and all of FlexiTog’s clothing meet or exceed these.
Keeping your team happy
By implementing these simple suggestions, you can help to make the lives of your cold store workers easier, helping to keep them working productively and safely in your business for longer.