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Revisiting COVID-19 Risks - 10 Ways to Keep Warehousing Operations Consistently Secure

By Darren Egerton

With government guidelines constantly evolving, it’s important to regularly review your COVID-19 response. In line with current best practice, we’ve created a 10-point plan to keep transmission risks in check and productivity on target across your warehousing business

  • Review government guidance and your company risk assessment.
    Recommended safety measures are regularly changing – sometimes from region to region. Keep pace with current government guidelines and carry out regular company risk assessments to pinpoint areas of non-compliance and strengthen coronavirus controls where needed. 
  • Ensure unwell workers stay at home.
    Clearly communicate that ill staff and visitors should not attend the site. As part of a wider response plan, teams should be trained in dealing with a suspected or positive case in the workplace – from spotting the symptoms of the virus to providing effective home working tools. 
  • Increase handwashing and surface cleaning.
    In addition to encouraging frequent handwashing, set up hand sanitiser stations at the entrance and exits to warehouses and close to shared kit, including workstations and forklift charging points. Train staff in the correct use of disinfectant and update checklists for lift trucks and other key equipment so they’re sanitised before every use.
  • Where possible, maintain a full 2-metre distance between workers.
    Make every effort to adhere to the 2-metre rule throughout your warehouse by separating workstations and clearly defining spaces using floor tape or paint. 
  • Add mitigating control measures.
    If maintaining two metres between employees isn’t possible, create a 1-metre distance and add mitigating control measures. This could involve practical solutions like Perspex screens, back-to-back or side-to-side working or the use of face coverings.
  • Consider staggered start and finish times.
    Curb onsite contact by establishing staggered shift patterns and fixed working groups. This approach reduces transmission risks – and makes it easier to contain a positive case – by limiting staff movement and ensuring the same individuals work together each day. 
  • Minimise noise.
    If your workers are regularly shouting over vehicle or machine noise, you could be driving up the danger of droplet infection. Take steps to create a quieter working environment on the warehouse floor and dial down radio and TV volumes in shared break spaces.
  • Use signage and posters to keep staff informed.
    Place clear reminders of your COVID-19 safety measures at strategic points across your site, including entrances, kitchens and toilets. Signage should highlight the importance of adhering to new procedures, hand hygiene and social distancing.   
  • Rethink your layout to reduce congestion and crowding.
    Study your site for physical pinch points that prevent workers from effectively distancing, then establish new entrance and exit routes and one-way systems to create a safer flow through the space.
  • Monitor homeworkers’ wellbeing.
    Frequent updates, online team meetings and virtual social events can promote positive mental health among remote workers. Commit to a regular schedule of catch ups so you’re poised to act on the early signs of stress. 
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Tags: Warehousing & Distribution, Coronavirus