Even though the panic has subsided somewhat and many restrictions have been decreased regarding Covid, we have been advised not to let our guard down. Extreme cleanliness remains a priority in the workforce and utmost caution during social interaction. By now, many mitigating actions have become second nature to both employees and employers. They’ve become habit.
Experts tell us it takes between 18 and 254 days to form a habit. The basic habits of mask-wearing, social distancing and handwashing are in place, as are efforts to clean and disinfect surfaces between customers or users. In warehousing facilities worldwide, there are cleanliness procedures in place that augment the standard practice and keep workers safe. Warehouse workers and employers have worked together to maximize the tools they have to protect everyone – from floor workers to delivery truck drivers. Maybe you have applied a best practices activity that has helped people stick to their newly formed habits or helped them to create new ones. Here are just a few that we’ve heard about and are worth sharing:
- Larger warehouse buildings – work in stages and specific locations to continuously clean and disinfect all areas of the building. Make employees in each area responsible for cleaning and monitoring the area, and have a checklist for them to follow. Give incentives for those who go over and above the basic cleaning instructions.
- Provide safe drop-off and pick-up points on your warehouse dock to protect both your employees and the trucking company employees. Make sure boxes and packages are sanitized and handled with gloves, and keep a supply of disinfected pens and clipboards for reviewing order departures and arrivals.
- Shipping personnel may want to disinfect their truck cabs, steering wheels and travel equipment between runs, so make disinfectant wipes available, as well as a no-touch trash receptacle for the dirty wipes.
- Improve ventilation throughout the warehouse space. Open windows where possible and use a fan to increase the effectiveness of pulling fresh air into the space. Fans used inside the work space, however, may do no more than move contaminated air around, so be careful about where they are placed. Workers should not stand downwind of a fan behind another person, to prevent the spread of airborne germs from the first person.
- Inspect and maintain dedicated exhaust ventilation, making sure the vents are operating properly, free of dust and debris. Be sure that outdoor air dampers are positioned properly.
- If you want to invest in air cleaning devices, the CDC suggests adding portable HEPA fan/filter systems that would cost approximately $500, or go the distance by adding upper room UVGI, at upwards of $1,500.
- Consider the prevention of the spread of the COVID virus, or any type of virus part of a workplace safety program and communicate about it as you would your safety programs.
*Coming Next Month – Warehouse safety programs can save you money everywhere