COVID-19: How are warehouse and production facilities coping with the new sanitation guidelines?
COVID-19 has had an impact on our lives more than any other illness in human memory.
The guidelines for how businesses have to deal with day to day life whilst dealing with this pandemic, change almost daily.
But, what are the sanitation guidelines businesses are having to deal with, and how are they coping with implementing them?
COVID-19 is a disease of the respiratory and vascular systems that is caused by a virus from a family of viruses called Coronavirus.
The most common symptoms of COVID 19 are a fever, coughing, fatigue, a loss of smell and / or taste, shortness of breath or other breathing difficulties. Many people recover well from COVID, but sadly there is a significant proportion of people who die.
There is also developing evidence that there is syndrome being referred to as ‘long covid’ or ‘covid syndrome’ and this a collection of symptoms that people continue to show for many months after illness, including extreme fatigue, breathlessness, and even organ damage.
What makes COVID 19 so difficult to slow the spread of, is that the time from contracting the illness to showing symptoms can be anything from one to fourteen days, and during that time the person who has contracted the illness is contagious, and can spread the disease.
The disease spread most easily through close contact via the respiratory system, for example talking, coughing and sneezing. There are also concerns that the virus can be contracted from contaminated surfaces, but there are varying thoughts on how long the virus survives on different types of surface.
Therefore, there are many different guidelines on how workplaces should be sanitising their working areas to keep their staff safe.
Sanitising The Workplace
Regular cleaning of the workplace is absolutely vital during the pandemic, to make things as safe as possible.
Warehouses and production facilities tend, by their very nature, to be quite cluttered and this can make it very difficult to keep an area clean and sanitised.
The first thing that should be done, is to make the warehouse as tidy, organised and uncluttered as possible.
The entire workplace should be thoroughly cleaned at least twice a day, and many companies are outsourcing to a warehouse cleaning service to do this efficiently and thoroughly for them.
Touch points should be wiped down more often with a disinfectant that effectively kills COVID 19. Touch points are areas that are frequently touched, such as door handles and light switches, for example.
There should be hand sanitising stations at the entrance and exits to the workplace, and hand washing stations and further hand sanitisers available for the staff to use.
If, however, an employee receives a positive result of a COVID 19 test, then the workplace may need a further deep clean, as per the guidelines of the country or state the business is based in.
Personal Protective Equipment
During this global pandemic, we have become familiar with personal protective equipment, or PPE, more than we ever have before.
Most people are wearing a mask when out in public, and many are utilising them within the workplace.
Warehouses tend to be quite large areas, and as long as they are well ventilated and employees are able to stay more than two metres or six feet apart, then they may not need to wear a mask at work, however if they are moving around the workplace and coming near to others, it may be prudent to wear a face mask or face shield at all times.
In some cases, employees may need to wear aprons, gloves and goggles, depending on the type of work they are doing, and the local regulations for that business.
How Is This Effecting These Types Of Facilities?
When these guidelines came into effect, the businesses would have to have made a great deal of changes, and keep up to date with the latest guidelines.
There is an extra cost that comes with supplying personal protective equipment, hand sanitiser, screens to separate people and cleaning companies to make everything as safe as possible.
The cost can be an unwanted one, however it is necessary, and in some places, the governments are offering monetary help to ensure businesses can comply with the regulations they have to do.
Due to the nature of COVID, and most people being unable to go outside to shop, online shopping has soared more than ever before.
Luckily this means that many warehouse type businesses are actually seeing a surge in demand, and are having to take on many new employees to cope with this increase.
This is a good thing however, as this increased business can help to offset the expenditure to make the workplace a COVID secure one.
Another cost that was perhaps not foreseen, is the mental cost to employees of the business.
COVID has brought a high level of stress, with many people reporting suffering with anxiety, depression, or other mental illnesses that are directly related to COVID.
Coming into work, and having to abide by a whole new set of rules, in a very quick time frame, has severely affected some people’s mental wellbeing, and this is another cost to the business to be aware of.
Those people will need support, and possibly sick leave until they are in a better place to be able to cope at work.
COVID 19 has had a huge effect on the entire world, and every walk of life has been affected.
The changes to everyday life have been dramatic, and the guidelines we have to abide by change very quickly.
However, businesses like warehouses and production facilities are in a good position to deal with these guidelines, because they tend to be larger spaces that allow for effective social distancing, and with the help of cleaning services are able to keep the workplace as COVID secure as is possible.
Unfortunately, COVID is likely to be with us for some time yet, so these new guidelines are a part of our everyday lives.