Winters in the Toronto area can be brutal, making it critical to get your warehouse roof ready for winter–for both tradespeople who access the roof and your employees.
Risks to Rooftop Crews
Just imagine what it’s like working in a large, drafty warehouse when the temperature is in the single digits outside. Then imagine working on the roof of a warehouse, exposed to drifting snow, standing water, ice, and high winds. The age of the roof membrane and typical construction of warehouses can make them both susceptible to leaks and heat loss. Given these factors, it’s not uncommon for roofers to get repair calls from warehouse owners in winter. That being said, it’s still important to minimize safety risks.
Risks to Warehouse Employees, Inventory and Equipment
A warehouse roof that isn’t watertight, has poor drainage or ventilation, or is otherwise in poor condition increases the risk of discomfort, illness, safety risks, injuries, and poor productivity among warehouse employees. Inventory, forklifts and other process equipment can also get damaged or malfunction in extreme weather or sustain losses.
We can’t change the weather. However, as winter gets closer, a warehouse owner or manager can take steps to keep employees and operations safe over the coming months.
Prepare Your Warehouse Before Winter Hits
What are some steps you can take to reduce the impact of winter on your warehouse roof? Here are 7 of the most critical steps for warehouse protection during the winter.
1. Have Your Roof Inspected and Properly Maintained
Don’t wait for a crisis to hit this winter. The best way to insure your roof is ready for the Canadian winter is to have it inspected twice a year and have a scheduled maintenance plan. Part of your maintenance plan might include having your roofing company inspect your roof after major weather events.
2. Plan Ahead for Inclement Weather when Scheduling Roofing Work
Safety-conscious roofing contractors, such as Elite Roofing, assess multiple forecasts early in the morning, before crews start working—usually by 6:00am. When safety is on the line, roofers use these projections to determine if the weather presents a safety risk, always erring on the side of caution. In addition, your roofer should check region-specific weather patterns—especially in areas that are more unpredictable, with stronger winds, and lower temperatures.
3. Determine if Conditions are Safe for Rooftop Workers
Be sure that your employee safety is your rooftop contractor’s top priority. Temperature and conditions on the ground can look very different than on the warehouse roof, adding employee safety risks as they experience tunnel effects, high winds, standing water, and exposure. Depending on weather factors such as high winds, rooftop deliveries of materials by crane, and roof or metal installation—or other rooftop tasks—may have to be postponed.
4. Understand the Impact of Warehouse Roof Height
Warehouse ceilings can reach 25 feet or more. Temperatures between the floor and a 25+ foot ceiling can be .75 degrees per foot, wasting warm air. The financial cost of wasted heat can add up quickly and significantly impact worker safety, health, and productivity. If your roofing company is proactive, they will make recommendations to help reduce your warehouse energy consumption and create a more comfortable indoor environment. These discussions become especially important as the time nears for a roof replacement.
5. Remove Snow, Ice, and Standing Water on Your Warehouse Roof when it Presents the Risk of Damages
Call your roofing contractor for an inspection after heavy storm or weather events if there is a reason to suspect that there are storm related damages. Your contractor will assess conditions on the roof for leaks, punctures caused by debris, snow drifts, blocked drainage systems, upturned membranes, loose rooftop equipment, damaged safety structure, and other hazards. Also make sure that ice and snow is safely cleared from any vents and exhaust systems for proper airflow and ventilation. Keeping the roof clear is also critical to prevent standing water, which will be quickly frozen (and slow to thaw) in cold weather and with shorter days—making any roof repairs difficult.
6. Protect Workers and Bystanders
During any project related to the roof, make sure your roofer takes steps to protect all workers and any bystanders inside the building or around the property. For example, the contractor should take care to store materials safely, keep walkways clear, and remove debris.
7. Emergency Roofing Services
Ensure that you know your roofing company’s emergency capabilities and procedures. Elite Roofing has a 24/7 emergency hotline, allowing our crews to attend to your situations promptly.
Prepare Your Warehouse Roof for Winter with Elite
Roofing work during the winter months requires attention, expertise, and preparation. Trust the right company to complete your roofing projects safely and successfully this season, allowing your building to function at peak performance and providing your employees with the work environment they need. If you require winter roofing maintenance or repair, plan ahead. Contact us for high-quality workmanship and reliable service.