Warehouses see a continuous ebb and flow of products, which necessitates a constant balancing act from a logistical perspective. When you factor in temperature considerations, however, this balancing act becomes even more difficult.
On one hand, temperature controls are required to keep your products safe while they are on the shelf. Keeping your products at lower-than-normal temperatures, on the other hand, may put your employees in danger.
No matter what the thermostat says, here's what you need to know about OSHA warehouse temperature requirements and guidelines to be compliant and keep employees safe.
Many health and safety discussions revolve around the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). They are the primary federal enforcer of workplace safety laws, and most industries fall under their jurisdiction.
Temperature is an area where things become a little complicated.
OSHA does not have specific warehouse temperature rules. Employers are required by the OSHA's General Duty Clause to provide a workplace that is reasonably free of recognized dangers that could result in death or serious harm. OSHA has heat stress standards as well.
However, OSHA does not have particular temperature standards in that it does not mandate employers to maintain a specified temperature in any workplace.
Temperature recommendations are made with this in mind. Keeping in mind that a 75-degree Fahrenheit office may be acceptable for one person but absolutely unpleasant for another, OSHA advises businesses to maintain the thermostat set between 68 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. When temperatures grow so high that they could cause heat stress, hypothermia, or other temperature-related conditions, OSHA compliance takes effect.
Having said that, if your warehouse stocks food, there are some guidelines in place. Maximum shelf life of shelf-stable products is 50 degrees Fahrenheit, however 70 degrees Fahrenheit is suitable for most shelf-stable products.
Refrigerated products should be stored between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and temperatures must be kept within three degrees Fahrenheit using thermostats. Freezer storage areas must be kept at a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
Employees must be provided with appropriate temperature protection and trained in work procedures designed to mitigate the harmful effects of temperature exposure if your warehouse is storing food at temperatures below OSHA's standard recommended temperature range for pharmaceutical or food safety reasons.
While OSHA warehouse temperature restrictions are less stringent than many other laws, the reality is that you still have to deal with a slew of other compliance issues. Keeping up with regulatory material revisions is a full-time job in and of itself.
That is why you can use EHS software by CloudApper Safety, which enables your team to reclaim control of your time. This way, you'll always know where you stand in terms of compliance and when you need to make changes.