Social Distancing In The Warehouse – How To Keep Your Team Healthy in 2020

Team of warehouse workers wearing face masks at a meeting with a supervisor

Conducting business during the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a re-evaluation of many safety procedures involving the spread of disease. Nowhere is this more apparent than in warehouses – a section of most facilities where social distancing is often particularly difficult. Despite the challenges, it’s important to set the highest possible standards of infection management. Maintaining strict policies in the warehouse provides a crucial step in keeping your team healthy in 2020 and beyond.  

Enacting effective social-distancing policies in a warehouse poses a daunting problem. When things are working right, a warehouse becomes a buzzing hive of activity. Inventory moves where it’s needed, employees tag-team tasks to maximize efficiency, and materials get transported in and out of the facility. All this is great for commerce…not so great for avoiding COVID-19 infections.  

Still, there are steps you can take to protect your workforce. Here are some of the precautions you can put in place to keep your team healthy in the warehouse:  

Educate Your Staff  

Make sure everyone stays up to date with the latest COVID information. Provide regular informational announcements about procedures and policy. At the same time, post a comprehensive source of data on your employee website.  

Provide Masks and Hand Sanitizer  

Obviously, you should mandate that your staff use masks and hand sanitizer wherever conditions make that necessary. However, to ensure compliance, take your commitment to proper PPE a step further. Provide your staff with the required equipment, making masks and sanitizer available to them.  

Mark Out 6-Foot Work Areas  

Dictating that your staff members try to keep a safe distance is a good first step. But have you ever tried to eyeball a six-foot radius? It can be difficult to estimate. Make it easier by marking floors with six-foot distances, giving each worker their own “safe zone” in which to operate.  

Control Traffic  

Creating six-foot “safe zones” helps while your employees are doing stationary jobs. But what about moving around? After all, working in a warehouse usually requires a significant amount of motion. Minimize the risk of a close encounter by having pre-determined paths through your facility.  

Enhance Your Sick-Leave Policy  

Structural pressures often force employees to come to work when they are sick. They don’t want to give up a day’s worth of pay or burn any sick time. Limit these incentives by enhancing your sick-leave policy. This way, you support workers in their decision to stay home when they have potential COVID symptoms.  

Limit Worker Contact With Customers Or Delivery Drivers  

Most of the policies so far have dealt with protecting employees from each other. However, a warehouse isn’t a sealed environment. Raw materials come in. Products go out. These interactions with the outside world need to get regulated as well.   

As much as possible, look to avoid contact between employees and outside individuals, like customers or delivery drivers. Devise contactless delivery and pick up. When this isn’t possible, create protocols to minimize the chance of infection.  

Have a Protocol in Place for COVID-Positive Tests  

Despite your best efforts, you could face a COVID-positive test from one of your employees. Don’t be surprised when this happens. Plan how you’ll react and have a transparent policy in place to handle the situation.  

Need to Hire Warehouse Associates? 

Protecting the health and safety of your workforce requires a team effort. You and your employees need to be on the same page. This process gets easier when you have the right staff members in place. A strong recruiting partner, like LaborMAX, can bring you the safety-minded workers you need. Contact LaborMAX Staffing today to discuss your staffing needs.