Most material handling products and services are essential during national and global crises to keep the supply chain moving. When considering the current COVID-19 pandemic, there are real ways for distribution centers to safeguard their workers and products. Many distribution and eCommerce fulfillment centers are in a hiring spree due to the move to online ordering. When adding new employees, supervisors must ensure they have proper training and make sure they have access to proper PPE, as well as safeguarding the facility from potential hazards. Here are five ways to keep your distribution center safe.
1. Encourage best health practices among workers
The first way to keep your distribution center safe is to ensure your employees are following the best health practices currently dictated. Furthermore, it’s important to enforce these practices if they are not being followed. When we say enforce, however, we mean you should ensure your employees are able to seek care or take time off for their health. The explicit practices your facility follows may differ slightly. However, you should keep in mind and support the most basic needs — access to hand washing stations, PPE, adequate fresh air or ventilation systems, and the ability to social distance while working.
2. Make sure your facility is kept clean
It’s likely that business is booming in your distribution center as you take on more and more third-party fulfillment responsibilities and try to keep business as usual. While this a positive for you and crucial to the supply chain, it also poses additional risks. Among your staff, you should take even more measures to ensure your facility remains safe, clean, and productive. This may entail additional access to sanitary products or the need for more sanitation stations, a revisit of your facility’s use of PPE, and more frequent cleanings in general. (Check out these steps from the CDC on how to clean and disinfect your facility.)
3. Adjust certain safety procedures accordingly
During a pandemic, it’s likely that your facility has to revisit procedures that are otherwise typical. Though your protocol may look a bit different, it’s an important time to ensure your team is all up-to-date on safety training. You should also revisit this protocol often and when specific instances arise. If you are facing a staff shortage, you may also need to shift responsibilities. For this to go smoothly, ensure that all employees are on the same page about best practices.
4. Install additional safety measures as needed
It’s never the right time for one of your employees to become injured on the job or for inventory to get damaged. However, the safety of your staff — since you likely have more new hands on deck — becomes even more important during a pandemic. And, furthermore, keeping your inventory safe means less higher profit.
A great way to safeguard all of your most important assets is with affordable safety solutions that work with your facility. Working with your facility means these solutions install in minutes and require no additional tools or retrofitting. You’ll find a wide selection for your pallet racking at Adrian’s, and, you may be particularly interested in the sliding rack safety net. This product seamlessly blends into pick-and-pack operations and allows for an additional layer of protection from falling or wayward product.
5. Facilitate communication at all times
More than ever, a pandemic is a crucial time to facilitate frequent, open, and honest communication with your workers. You owe it to yourself and your business to stay on top of updates and guidance from your local officials. Ensure that you have a reliable system for researching and understanding regulations from state and federal authorities. Do what you can to stay in touch with all employees — both onsite and remote — and listen to their concerns. Now more than ever, no informed step in the right direction is too small. The success of businesses (and economies) far and wide falls on all of us.
You may also be interested in 5 Steps to Preventing Recordable Injuries in Your Facility.