How to protect your warehouse staff from coronavirus while still meeting demand

Here, Kelly Friel, Digital Product Manager from the tool and PPE specialists Zoro explains how you can ensure your warehouse staff are protected from COVID-19, but without slashing their productivity.

As an employer, it’s your responsibility to take all reasonable steps to keep your staff safe. In a warehouse, this will have always meant providing your workers with the right training, equipment, and PPE. But, as the coronavirus pandemic is still ongoing, you’ll also have to put new measures in place to limit the risk of the illness spreading among your workforce.

Of course, while you’ll need to do what you can to keep your employees happy and healthy, you won’t want your productivity levels to take too much of a hit. This is especially true right now, when online shopping is more popular than ever, and warehouse staff are working around the clock.

So, I’m going to outline just a few of the ways you can keep your employees safe from coronavirus, while still meeting demand. Make sure you also keep an eye on the government’s latest coronavirus advice to ensure you’re always abiding by their guidelines.

Implement a one-way system

We all know we should still be keeping at least two metres away from anyone we don’t live with. And, one way you can make this possible for your employees is to implement a one-way system, so their paths never cross. Of course, this will take some serious planning, so you can ensure every part of your warehouse is accessible, and that these new routes won’t make everyone’s jobs a lot harder.

This really can make a huge difference, though. So, if this is something you’re able to put in place, it should be one of the first steps you take to make your workplace safer during this health crisis.

Equip your staff with the right PPE

It isn’t enough to simply ensure your staff stay at least two metres apart, though, as there is still some speculation about whether the virus can survive on surfaces, and how long is remains in the air. So, you need to ensure your workers are also given suitable PPE that will help to protect them from the virus if it does make its way into your workplace.

High-quality face masks should be worn whenever possible, and these need to be fitted properly, so there aren’t any gaps around the edges where the virus could get in. Disposable gloves can also help to limit the spread of the virus, but you should make sure your workers always have easy access to a handwashing station, too. Encourage them to wash their hands on a regular basis to keep themselves safe.

Tell staff they should stay home if they start to show symptoms

If your staff are worried that their pay will be cut, or that their jobs will be put at risk, they may be tempted to come into the warehouse, even if they’ve started showing symptoms. So, you need to ensure they’re confident that they can take the time off if they need it, without any negative repercussions. This will help to reduce the risk of people coming into work and spreading the virus around the rest of your employees.

If you think your sick pay policy could do with an update, now is the perfect time to do it. As long as your staff aren’t worried about their jobs, they’ll be far more likely to do what’s best for your company.

Whether your staff have been working throughout the outbreak, or they’re just starting to come back to your warehouse now, it’s your responsibility to keep them safe. Take these tips on board and you should be able to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading through your workforce, but without it having too big of an impact on your productivity.

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