While social distancing and stay-at-home orders are in place for the majority of the nation, many essential warehouses are continuing operations. But just because warehouses have to be up and running during this time, it doesn’t mean that they can’t do their best to uphold safety and health requirements to keep everyone safe.
Right now, warehouses must take every necessary step to protect their warehouse employees and their customers from being unnecessarily exposed to sickness.
Here are our top tips on ways to ensure that your warehouse and employees stay safe and healthy during COVD-19.
Provide Proper Equipment for Employees
The first step to keeping your warehouse protected is to ensure that your employees have everything they need to stay on top of possible outbreaks.
The CDC has stated that it’s important for everyone to try to stay six feet away from one another when possible, but obviously, this may be very hard in a busy warehouse. The next best precaution is to ensure that everyone is wearing facial masks or cloth coverings. This virus can easily spread through people talking, sneezing or coughing, even when people are not showing any symptoms of being ill, so it’s important to cut the possible transfer of COVID-19 by covering your nose and mouth.
If you are not able to hand out masks to your employees (which would be ideal) you can ask your team to create one with materials they have at home and provide them guidance on how to do so. Making your own mask is quite simple – here is a tutorial created by CNN to help you get started.
Providing your employees necessary equipment also includes ensuring that your employees have an abundance of necessary cleaning supplies – both ones used normally at your warehouse and additional items needed during a pandemic, such as disinfectant or hand sanitizer.
Also, it’s important to have a clear chain of communication for who employees can talk to if they notice their supplies are running low and need more.
Reevaluate Packaging Used
Right now, there’s a strong focus on finding ways to stop the spread of this virus, and one of those ways is to consider how we’re sending products and if that should be changed.
Of course, we’re learning more every day about the way this virus clings to people and objects, but we do know that some materials are safer than others.
For example, glass containers may be safer than plastic ones because they don’t allow oxygen and other elements to touch a product that might slip past a plastic container.
Warehouses around the country are already reconsidering what types of packaging and how much should be used for their products to become more environmentally friendly. Now is the perfect time to continue that conversation by looking at your packaging habits from not only a green perspective but a safety one. What is the safest, most efficient way you can successfully ship your products to your customers?
Level Up Cleaning Practices
This is the time to reevaluate your cleaning practices and schedules, by asking questions like:
- Are you prioritizing cleaning in your warehouse process?
- How often are you cleaning your warehouse, especially high-traffic areas?
- Are there any places or areas that are regularly missed?
- Are you cleaning your products that may have been sitting around before they are set to be shipped out?
- Are storage areas being regularly cleaned and dusted?
- Do you have a checklist of what needs to be cleaned and when? Who signs off on it?
- Are you encouraging your employees to clean as they go about their process?
Discuss with your management and leadership teams the different ways you can update and optimize your cleaning processes during this worrisome time to ensure everyone’s safety.
Another note – be sure to rotate the cleaning supplies you’re using every day. Dr. William Madden, the co-founder and senior partner of outsource operations firm Whole Brain Consulting, suggests changing the chemicals used. This action will keep you protected in case bacteria starts to become resistant to one specific kind of cleaning solution.
Educate Your Employees
Another way to support and protect your warehouse team during this time is to provide information and updates about the virus, and the best ways to keep themselves protected at home and work.
By providing materials and tips from reputable sources like the CDC, you can help your team stay informed and proactive as we continue to fight COVID-19.
For example, this resource from the CDC offers some helpful tips on, including:
- How to properly clean a surface, and what high-traffic surfaces you might be missing
- How to make your own disinfectant
- How to ensure soft surfaces and technological devices are disinfected
- How to safely do laundry with clothes that have been exposed to the outside
- How to clean if someone in your home is sick
Going above and beyond to make sure your employees have all the tools and information they need to stay safe is a way to show your team that you care about their wellbeing in and out of the warehouse.
Consider Equipment Alternatives
If your employees are constantly coming into contact with your products entering or leaving your warehouse, take the time to consider if there are ways to distance them. This is a matter of not only keeping them safe but keeping the customers who receive your products safe. The fewer people to come into contact with your products right now, the better.
A great way to keep this distance is to invest in warehouse automation with tools like industrial manipulators, which can seamlessly improve your warehouse’s efficiency, safety and productivity.
An industrial manipulator is a machine with a rigid steel manipulator arm that allows for complex pneumatic tilts and rotations. It is often used when a product is too heavy to move manually, or a product must be moved to a location that is not easily or quickly accessible for a person to reach. But industrial manipulators also make great tools during this time, as they allow your employees to keep a safe distance from products that enter and leave your warehouse, minimizing interactions and the potential spread of the virus.
Stay Safe and Healthy
Whatever steps your warehouse decides is right, we hope that you and your team can stay healthy and safe during this worrisome time.
If you have any questions about how an industrial manipulator could be of assistance to your warehouse during this time, contact Dalmec today to discuss how we can help.