How to Work Efficiently in a Cold Room Environment?
Due to the large storage space of the cold rooms they are constantly used in the commercial areas for cold storage. They have the ability to store a large quantity of food that is meant to be kept at cold temperatures. This way they can help keep the food fresh for longer periods of time. The cold rooms feature a variable temperature range and a wide variety of accessories which help in its efficient use.
Although the cold rooms provide a lot of ease in preparing food, they do not provide optimal working conditions. The damp conditions inside the cold rooms, make the workers very uncomfortable. Those workers pulling 8 hour shifts complain about the difficulty of work in the cold rooms. Working at lower temperatures tends to decrease the efficiency of the workers whilst also increasing their chances of getting injured.
In light of these issues, some safety precautions should be taken to increase the efficiency of the workers. The cold rooms are rarely ever thought of as a dangerous environment to work in and thus the workers in them are neither trained nor told about the guidelines that could help them with coping in those cold and damp conditions.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), has been doing research in this matter and their researchers have been able to figure out the factors that affect the performance and safety of the workers that work in cold rooms. They have published a report in which they have extensively explained these factors.
According to the report published by the NIOSH, the main factors that affect the efficiency of the workers and their safety are:
- Inadequate or next to nothing training in how to work and perform tasks properly in the unsettling conditions of the cold rooms.
- Constant air drafts felt by the workers while performing task in the cold rooms.
- Reluctance of the workers to wear warm gloves while working, as they hinder the efficiency of the work that requires a soft touch and delicacy that can only be provided by bear hands and fingers.
- The long exposure to cold temperatures that make it tough to perform task quickly and effectively.
Based on these factors and those mentioned in the report form the NIOSH, the workers should be given several tips on how to perform tasks in the cold rooms and how to keep themselves safe and healthy. According to the factors mentioned above some tips that can prove to be helpful are as following.
The workers that are to be posted in to the cold rooms should be given proper training. They must know how to work and protect themselves in the cold rooms to maximize efficiency and reduce health risks.
Proper maintenance of the cold rooms is necessary to stop the air drafts. Also equipment should also be installed to reduce the condensation and dampness in the cold rooms.
All the employees working in the cold rooms should be provided with glove liners, to be worn inside the gloves at all times. These glove liners are made of insulating materials that help to keep the worker’s hands warm and functional. As the hands are warm the workers can perform tasks much quicker and with more finesse. To further help in keeping the workers hands warm, hand warmers should be installed in the cold rooms. Moreover any work that requires the delicacy of the hands or fingers should be performed outside the cold rooms.
In case the clothes of any worker become wet or moist, the worker should be instructed to change them immediately so as to avoid fever or pneumonia. The workers should understand that wet clothes not only reduce the efficiency of the work performed but can also result in the degradation of health. The workers should be aware of such dangers to better protect themselves.
To keep the workers from being exposed to cold temperatures for long periods of time, the worker shifts should be rotated regularly. The workers should be moved from the cold regions to the warm and vice versa to avoid extensive exposure. This way the workers are also not uneasy and distressed about staying in the cold for long. The shifts should be kept at 3 to 4 hours in cold rooms to protect the workers and keep them working efficiently.
The tips mentioned above and those mentioned in the report by the NIOSH should be followed responsibly to ensure maximum efficiency from the workers and most of all to keep them safe and healthy.