It is no secret that warehouses and their workers are facing quite the conundrum: their operations are necessary for keeping the economy in its fragile state moving forward, and workers run the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 despite employers following CDC guidelines and warehouse cleaning best practices.
Many warehouses took instant action, implementing staggered lunch breaks for workers, creating new sanitizing protocols, and enforcing social distancing rules. Many warehouses generated policies in the event a worker tested positive for COVID-19 and have increased warehouse cleaning frequency to keep the spread altogether.
But in some instances, the ongoing interaction between warehouse employees and increased item handling to support requirement — and the apparent lack of shut-down conclusions from direction — is inducing public relations issues. Amazon workers in particular have made headlines over the past couple of weeks for reporting that a lack of cleaning support and other protective measures as the retail giant prioritizes.
While many warehouses are essential for people and businesses to keep on receiving the goods they need for operations and daily life, warehouse leaders must consider the hardware and accessories that employees use and take action to clean and sanitization them (and frequently) to ensure safety by getting help from professional warehouse sanitization service in Grand Prairie. That is in addition to any standard and deep cleaning policies and processes already in place, which may not take these devices under the account.
Warehouse Cleaning Tips for Hardware and Accessories
Wearable accessories like wrist straps, hand straps, hardware belts, headgear, and more are all part of the equipment warehouse workers will need to do their jobs efficiently. But because this equipment comes into immediate contact with employees, it’s just as possible to transfer the virus as person-to-person interaction.
Warehouse leaders should consider enforcing a policy of regularly cleaning the devices and preventing workers from sharing any accessories. This means specific accessories should be assigned to employees during the duration of the pandemic and also beyond before it subsides and a complete cleaning can be completed. In some instances, leaders might think about disposing of certain accessories to further decrease the chance of spread.
Additionally, anything about headsets for voice communications shouldn’t be shared. Look at replacing foam covers for both microphones and earpieces more frequently too to ensure workers are not exposed to the last.
Less expensive wearable accessories can be used in the majority and potentially disposed of now or after the pandemic, handheld devices are distinct. Many times, warehouses may not have enough apparatus to permit employees to use dedicated devices. Furthermore, employees often come into contact with locker systems utilized for device storage, recharging, and security — meaning there are even more opportunities for the spread of disease.
Leaders should look beyond facilities themselves to the devices employees are using daily. An expected policy worth contemplating is requiring every employee to use a handheld to disinfect the device at the end of the workday, and also to allow the device disinfectant to remain on the device for the suggested timeframe to increase the prospect of any germs or viral elements being fully removed. The whole device should be disinfected (screen, keyboard, holsters, etc.) along with any peripherals, accessories, and charging stations.
- Environmental Considerations
An effective warehouse cleaning program will naturally address the numerous surfaces that workers come in contact with throughout the day. In addition to disinfecting equipment lockers, work stations, equipment control panels, and so on, warehouse leaders should consider the various systems that circulate the atmosphere, catch and store dust, and other air quality systems.
Cleaning and maintenance ought to be improved on these systems. While COVID can’t withstand high temperatures, dust control systems could potentially retrieve dust particulates — organic and inorganic — over time. Cleaning these methods (particularly air quality) is an extra measure of protection companies can take to ensure the protection of their warehouse workers in addition to any employees in office spaces that may be linked to a warehouse.
- Disinfect Heavy Equipment
Forklifts, floor cleaners, along other heavy equipment in use within your warehouse facilities should also be completely disinfected. This is critical for areas where employees touch, sit, or interact, such as steering wheels, working controls, steps, ladders, handlebars, and so onwards. Keeping these surfaces clean will help prevent disease spread.
- Give the Necessary PPE
Personal protective equipment beyond hardhats and goggles will be critical now and later on. Expect to see more PPE in use such as latex gloves, gloves, and more being used in facilities where employees come into contact with one another frequently.
Contemplate Contactless Solutions for Your Future
While contactless equipment is nothing new, it’ll be worth researching — both to protect against the spread of this disease today and also to help mitigate similar incidents in a long time. Examples include robotics for entirely hands-free choosing, voice-directed hardware, RFID solutions, and much more that ensure employees do not have to touch certain apparatus, control panels, etc. on yet can still maintain high levels of productivity.
Furthermore, since the disease has caused economic uncertainty, many businesses may have to consider new procurement options due to their warehouse hardware and equipment. While retail has boomed as demand for key products increased, other segments haven’t fared so well.
Fortunately, other alternatives such as equipment rental, refurbished equipment, as well as Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS), which offers a full enterprise hardware program for a more manageable monthly fee, are all worth exploring.
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