Although most businesses have plans in place to deal with unexpected emergencies, no one was really prepared for the coronavirus pandemic. Warehouses were especially hit hard by the increased strain on the supply chain during the initial outbreak. At the same time, warehouse managers had to grapple with safety concerns and implement quick measures to protect workers.
Now more than ever is a great time to review your warehouse safety practices and consider making a few changes that will benefit your business in the long-run. Read on as Vector shares other steps you can take to ensure your employees are safe throughout the rest of the pandemic and beyond.
Invest in Automation
Automation makes for safer, more organized warehouse operations, which is hugely beneficial whether you’re riding out the rest of a pandemic or operating in calmer times. Business owners can take advantage of all kinds of warehouse automation technologies to make the workplace safer and more productive.
Also, if you haven’t already, invest in shift scheduling software that allows you to create efficient schedules for your warehouse team. Additionally, many software packages include ways to provide real-time notifications, which can instantly let your employees know about any last-minute schedule changes they need to be aware of.
Encourage Social Distancing
As much as possible, try to enforce social distancing in your warehouse. One way to do this is to create work areas that are 6 feet apart. Use visual cues on the floor to help employees stick to their assigned space. You can also separate different work areas with plexiglass dividers for an extra level of safety. To prevent warehouse employees from passing each other in narrow storage aisles, designate a one-way flow through high-traffic areas of your warehouse.
Establish Personal Hygiene Requirements
In addition to social distancing solutions, think about the kinds of personal hygiene measures you could implement to prevent workers from bringing the virus into your workplace. First of all, make sure people don’t come to work if they feel sick. You could even use temperature screening to check for signs of illness before allowing your workers into the warehouse.
To prevent the spread of illness through your warehouse, make sure employees follow good hygiene practices on the job. Encourage regular hand washing, provide hand sanitizer, and make personal protective equipment (PPE) available. Ensure that your workers are properly sanitizing shared equipment and tools after use. Better yet, discourage the sharing of handheld tools altogether.
Increase Cleaning Practices
You can further reduce the risk of illness at your business by increasing your cleaning practices around the warehouse. In addition to your regular cleaning, disinfect high-touch areas with a solution that’s known to kill the novel coronavirus. For example, NBCNews Better reports that several household cleaners like bleach and alcohol can kill the coronavirus when used properly. Importantly, train all of your new staff on your cleaning protocols so everyone does their part to keep the warehouse sanitary.
Educate Your Workers
Educating your workforce is one of the best ways to boost safety in the warehouse. Employees who know how to avoid illness, prevent accidents, and respond appropriately in emergency situations will help you keep your warehouse running smoothly. Besides enforcing good coronavirus cleaning and personal hygiene practices, make sure your employees know how to identify workplace hazards and avoid them. First-aid training is always a worthwhile expense. When your team members know how to perform common first-aid procedures, they’ll be well-equipped to handle emergencies before EMS personnel arrive.
There has never been a better time to prioritize safety in the warehouse environment. The safety measures you implement today will continue to protect your workers throughout the pandemic and long after things have returned to normal. To ensure the long-term health of your hard-working employees, invest in a safety management system for your warehouse.