Is Your Warehouse Social Distance Compliant?

26 May 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, businesses must comply with social distancing measures, to keep their employees safe and limit the spread of the virus.

According to Business Human Rights, warehouse workers across the UK have been voicing their concerns about social distancing in the workplace. A recent article in The Guardian, suggested that many warehouse workers were finding it challenging to remain two metres apart and still meet picking targets.

Those who are concerned about social distancing in their own warehouses are well-advised to consider the following ideas.

Warehouse Design

Those in the industry will be well aware that the design of a warehouse directly affects its performance. Let us consider a few aspects of warehouse design and how they can help with social distancing measures.

Flow: the most effective warehouse systems use ‘one-way flow’ as part of their design structure. Whether it’s counterclockwise or clockwise, a one-way flow system can improve efficiency. If both material items and workers move through a one-way system, achieving social distancing becomes easier.

Functional Requirements: to plan the functional requirements of your warehouse you need to look at details such as picking and packing. Zone picking lends itself well to social distancing. When every individual is only working within one set area, it’s easier to avoid close collisions around the warehouse. Voice picking is another useful strategy, helping workers to reduce contact between each pick and save time. As well as using a one-way system, some warehouses are extending their opening hours to allow less staff to work per shift.

Layout: the layout of shelving and racks must be designed with maximum efficiency in mind. During the Covid-19 crisis, it’s advisable to change the layout of your warehouse racks. For instance, moving racks further away from the wall means creating more space for social-distancing. A warehouse installation service can offer further advice to improve the layout of your warehouse.

General Social Distancing Measures

There are many other ways to ensure that your warehouse is social distance compliant. You should remove any entry systems that rely on skin contact, such as touch scanners. Ensure that your employees begin and end work at staggered times, to reduce crowded areas. Cancel any visits to your workplace that are non-essential. You should also mark the floor of your warehouse to help workers to anticipate a two-metre gap between themselves and others. It’s advisable to deep clean your warehouse regularly and provide PPE and hand sanitizers on site.

How can Distribution Maintenance help?

At Distribution Maintenance, we offer warehouse racking repairs, warehouse installations and warehouse dismantling. If you need to adjust the layout of your warehouse to comply with social distancing measures, we can help you to achieve this. If you have recently had an inspection, we can implement the actions required to conform with the recommendations.