Use checklists to implement the hygiene and safety measures in your warehouses. Respond to changes immediately by adjusting your protections and easily updating your checklists digitally.
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It is not an easy task to find a business that does not make use of warehouses. When the COVID-19 pandemic restricted business operations, warehouse operations were also either slowed down or stopped completely. As businesses slowly reopen and more workers return to work to get normal warehouse operations up and running again, it is important to establish new hygiene and safety measures to prevent or minimize the spread of the virus.
State health authorities and local industry associations have issued guidance to help companies and employers protect their employees from COVID-19 at work. Employers, warehouse employees, and their customers benefit from the hygiene and protective measures for warehouses by reducing the risk of infection and resulting in fewer losses and delays in business operations due to infection.
The following four aspects are the most important for employers and employees if they want to keep their COVID-19 warehouses free:
Employers should regularly inform themselves about new findings or recommendations by governmental authorities to take precautionary measures against the pandemic. First, a risk assessment should be carried out in the warehouse, focusing primarily on the risks of COVID-19, to develop controls that eliminate or reduce the risk of workers becoming infected with COVID-19 while working with it.
As soon as the risks are identified, administrative or technical controls should be introduced in the warehouse. An example of administrative control is limiting the total number of employees who share a common work area through staggered shift schedules. An example of technical control is signs and markings that reinforce hygiene measures and social distance between employees.
The introduction of controls without the consent of the employees can make implementation difficult. Therefore, workers should provide information material and training for all employees to educate them on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace and explain why hygiene and protective measures are being introduced. Employees who are aware of the possibilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will see the value in it and will practice the precautions at work and in their free time.
Employers must monitor the implementation of hygiene and safety measures to avoid the risk of infection among workers. This is not only dangerous for their health but also harms business. Therefore, managers in the company should develop a plan for regular inspections to check that all precautionary measures are continuously observed. They should also monitor workplace trends, such as employee absenteeism, and monitor employee health through regular polling. Proactive monitoring can be of great help to employees and companies during the pandemic period.
Adapting the current work processes to the new circumstances is the important task of managers in companies. Procedures and strategies must be developed to protect the health and safety of employees, customers, and business partners. At the same time, the efficient and reliable operation of warehouse operations should be possible.
The following are some of the best practices currently used to contain the spread of coronavirus in warehouses.
Companies need to carry out their risk assessment beyond their warehouse. The entire supply chain system carries risks. A comprehensive end-to-end risk assessment helps to plan risk reduction measures at all levels immediately.
There are three key steps in conducting a supply chain risk assessment:
Social distancing is an effective means of minimising the risk of infection in warehouses. Some of the most important measures are:
A well-documented monitoring process helps to easily identify the causes in case of a new COVID-19 case and to strengthen compliance with the corona guidelines. The monitoring/logging procedures include:
Technical solutions have made a decisive contribution to improving operational efficiency even before the pandemic. In the current situation, they can minimize health risks where appropriate. Digital technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, wearables, and autonomous devices such as drones and gripping robots can help to protect workers. They can automate functions such as demand forecasting and warehouse allocation, and they are also additional help when the warehouse has a limited human resources capacity. Companies can also use them as monitoring tools, for example, when guidelines on social distance are to be observed.
In the corona pandemic, the focus is on cleaning and disinfecting work areas, break rooms, and sanitary facilities. It has been proven that the virus can survive for days on surfaces such as cardboard, plastic, and stainless steel. For this reason, contact-intensive surfaces such as handrails, desks, lifts, etc. should be cleaned and disinfected frequently.
Companies should routinely check the hygiene and safety measures taken to ensure that they are being observed. Regular inspections and audits can be helpful. However, other methods, such as video surveillance or real-time location, can also be used. However, the consent of the employees must be obtained for this.
The operation of warehouses will require some changes in hygiene and safety measures during the corona pandemic, aimed at protecting the health and safety of people. At the same time, the efficiency and reliability of warehouse operations should be maintained.
Digital checklists facilitate the implementation and monitoring of the measures. Lumiform's mobile app offers the advantage that all quality and safety inspections, simply by tablet or smartphone can be carried out on-site in the warehouse - online or offline. All data is immediately available to the entire health and safety team. Problems can be identified and solved immediately.
With Lumiform, warehouse operators benefit from the following advantages:
We have put together some checklists to help implement and monitor the hygiene and safety measures in a warehouse to protect workers from COVID-19. All templates can easily be adapted to internal company requirements and regional guidelines of state authorities.