Warehouses storing sensitive products such as pharmaceuticals, food and personal care items need to be proactive and aware when it comes to sterilising workplaces and waging war against infection.

Examine your procedures

Doubtless, you have employee hygiene systems such as washing hands and wearing masks and gloves. Yet there are still changes you can make to warehouse design that will keep things safe and clean, while ensuring productivity.

If you want a safe warehouse that is germ free, it is vital to keep processes simple. You may be able to eliminate unnecessary steps which will enhance overall productivity.

First of all, look at your current processes. Examine your workflows and see if you can make any changes along the way. Perhaps there’s a delay while waiting for the opening of a loading bay, putting frozen food in jeopardy of defrosting and becoming inedible. Perhaps sensitive medical items have too many ‘touches’ along the route to their destination.

Assign staff carefully

Traffic flows and worker positions are important factors. If you have places in your warehouse such as a walk-in freezer for food products or a sterile area for medical items, you will know about common hygiene issues such as people continually coming in and out. Attempt to restrict the number of people entering: only specially trained employees should be handling those products. This can have a good knock-on effect on the busiest areas of your workplace.

Shelf hygiene

Use hygienic storage wherever possible. If you store sensitive products, you may already know that to prevent unsanitary conditions and germs, it is vital that sterile plastic shelving and medical shelving should be in place. Rust-proof wire shelves can prevent corrosion and damage in extreme-temperature settings such as freezers and greenhouses.
A guide to warehousing safety is available at http://www.hse.gov.uk/pUbns/priced/hsg76.pdf, while a specialist in industrial shelving in Ireland, such as https://www.rackzone.ie/shelving/industrial-residential-shelving, can offer advice.

Dealing with waste

Waste flow needs to be disposed of quickly and safely. There is a lot of waste with food storage, such as unsold product and spoiled goods, as well as runoff from any production process.

Separate waste goods from your stored goods to prevent contamination and pests, and employ gates and locks around your dumpsters and grease traps to prevent cross-contamination. After this, your warehouse should be in tip top shape and more hygienic than ever.

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