Why don’t factories and warehouses have tornado shelters? Don’t employees deserve safe working conditions to earn a living wage? Considering their mammoth floor plans, there should be more than enough room for life-saving storm shelters. Following a December tornado that claimed the lives of six Amazon workers in Illinois, public health officials are asking that very question. Unlike residential floorplans, which don’t always allow for a lot of wiggle room when it comes to retrofitting, warehouses are ideal for storm shelters. Crews should have no problem installing a large commercial tornado shelter alongside production lines without interrupting daily workflows. Still, the question persists. ‘Where are the storm shelters?’ When tallying the total construction costs of large commercial facilities, a large aboveground tornado shelter only represents about 2 percent of the total overhead costs. This should be well within the operating costs of any larger corporation. There’s just no reason for this lack of accountability. Warehouse and factory tornado shelters continue to save lives. When will project managers take note of this dire memo?
“It can be any size. I’ve seen them where they incorporate them into a corridor,” he said. “That 1% of the time that you really need it to be a shelter, it’s built to withstand the 250 mile-an-hour winds and 100 mile-an-hour impacts that we test these things to.”Jim Bell, director of operations for the National Storm Shelter Association.
Proven Storm Protection is More than Just Saving Face. It’s About Saving Lives
Products, machinery and even the very building that houses daily operations are replaceable. But the valued lives of crew members who dedicated their days to bettering a company’s reputation with a superior product cannot. When a tornado comes tearing through a community, factory and warehouse workers are at a distinct disadvantage. As these workers fixate their attention to the task at hand, they don’t have time to worry about the latest storm updates. By the time tornado sirens begin to blare, they’ve already lost precious minutes to find suitable protection. And where would they go anyway? Unlike smaller residences and businesses that have interior rooms, such as closets or bathrooms, and basements, larger factories do not offer any of these natural barriers to the forces of nature. Only a thin metal shell protects employees from certain doom. Once the roof is peeled back, workers sit vulnerable to a powerful vacuum from a killer tornado. As any foreman would know, factories already pose a host of natural hazards. Heavy equipment and pallets of products tower above vulnerable workers. Any small seismic shifts can topple supplies before crashing down on unsuspecting workers. Now, imagine the chaos that would unfold in a factory or warehouse during a tornado.
Warehouse and Factory Tornado Shelters for Any Floor Plan
As we’ve said before, the large cavernous nature of a factory or warehouse creates the perfect setting for a community tornado shelter. Large commercial shelters, capable of protecting hundreds of employees, can be easily implemented into such facilities without interrupting day-to-day operations. When considering the inclusion of a warehouse and factory tornado shelter, there is more than just the obvious life-saving features these units offer. For one, you will be sending a very clear message to your employees. By making available a proven life-saving storm shelter to their disposal, you are telling your employees that you value them not only as workers, but as actual human beings. This should go a long way in employee retention and company moral, which is directly correlated with production and profit. Then these is also the insurance angle. Insurers are much more likely to extend better rates to companies that go the extra mile in protecting employees. Intangibles, such as these, along with the merits of being a decent human being, are all the more reason to invest in guaranteed protection from U.S. Safe Room.