The Second Harvest Food Bank, in Springfield, Ohio, is manned mostly by volunteers. But executive director Keith Williamson was having a hard time retaining unpaid workers because of conditions at the charity’s warehouse.
Because of the 58,000 square foot warehouse’s open floor plan, volunteers packing boxes of food to be distributed to the area’s needy were frequently exposed to loud noises from industrial machinery, blasts of freezing air whenever the freezer doors were opened, and the constant flow of traffic as forklifts, trucks and other vehicles loaded and unloaded pallets all around them.
In some instances, volunteers literally had to shout at each other just to be heard over the din of the warehouse.
Improve Conditions or Lose Volunteers
Williamson knew he had to do something increase the workers’ safety and comfort, or else there would be nobody to handle the more than 6 million pounds of food the charity distributes each year to 90 area soup kitchens, shelters, and food pantries.
But given the charity’s small budget, building permanent walls to block off the areas where volunteers worked from other parts of the warehouse was not practical.
That’s when Williamson learned about fabric curtain walls.
Noise and Temperature Resistant
Curtains are temporary, portable walls that dampen noise and block temperature variations so that the workers can be safer and more comfortable while working in the warehouse.
They define the volunteer work space, provide temperature separation, and even help buffer loud noises coming from other parts of the facility.
The walls installed at the Second Harvest warehouse are made of fire-retardant industrial vinyl that’s wrapped around anti-microbial polyester batting. They can provide up to 40 degrees of temperature variation from adjacent spaces and reduce noise levels by up to 25 decibels.
They feature three custom vinyl strip doorways — one for foot traffic and two fitted to accommodate pallet jacks and forklifts.
Williamson said the fabric curtain walls have made a big difference and he is now able to keep volunteers longer because working conditions are greatly improved.
Many Types of Curtain Walls and Temporary Doors
Curtain walls are used in many industrial applications. And they can be made of many different materials.
Bahrns offers many different types of temporary walls and doors, including clear plastic temporary curtains, strip doors for dock doors or semi-trailer hatches, and even acoustical blankets.
Temporary curtain walls can be custom-built to fit any sized area. And they are available in a variety of materials to fit specific requirements, whether it’s temperature control, sound deadening or other uses.
They also are a much more affordable option than building renovation or installing permanent walls. Plus they offer the versatility of being able to be moved from one location to another whenever you want.
As for Williamson, he said his warehouse’s new curtain walls have made all the difference. Volunteers can now work in more comfort and security.