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Social Distancing Guidelines for Workers in Logistics

What this guide is for

On 7th April 2020, the government produced a document containing guidance for specific sectors on how to implement social distancing. As GMB Reps and members we wanted you to have a better idea of how these documents should be implemented by your employers, so we decided to produce this short guide. You can use it to check that your employer is doing all they should be, to protect you as much as reasonably possible.

As a worker in logistics, you play a very important role in ensuring goods can get to where they are needed. There is no reason for this work to stop if social distancing is carried out correctly.

The British Retail Consortium has published guidance on social distancing in warehousing and logistics, which can be found here: https://brc.org.uk/news/corporate-affairs/social-distancing-in-warehouse-and-distribution-settings/

Where work must carry on and workers are unable to keep a 2 metre distance from each other at all times, in spite of other control measures implemented; then the Employer should complete a risk assessment and look at providing suitable PPE. This should consider whether face masks, gloves, eye protection and coveralls are needed to provide further protection.

What should my employer be doing?

  • Employers should consider which activities are essential work.  If there is essential work where social distancing of 2 metres is not possible, they must take every possible step to reduce the risk of transmission between staff or between staff and the public where applicable.
  • If a 2 metre distance cannot be maintained, workers should be side by side, or facing away from each other, rather than face to face.
  • Workers should be reminded daily to only come into work if they are well and no one in their household is self-isolating.
  • Employees should be encouraged to stay 2 metres apart wherever possible.
  • There should be signage and floor markings in the warehouse, encouraging a 2 metre distance from colleagues where feasible.
  • Employees should be encouraged to regularly wash their hands with soap and water as often as possible and for a minimum of 20 seconds every time. Extra breaks should be allowed for this.
  • Additional pop-up handwashing stations or facilities, providing soap, water and hand sanitiser should be considered.

 

Other things your employer should consider doing


General social distancing measures

  • Stop all non-essential visitors to the workplace
  • Introduce staggered start and finish times to reduce congestion and contact at all times
  • Monitor entrances and exits to enable social distancing– they may need to change the number of access points, either increase to reduce congestion or decrease to enable monitoring
  • Remove or disable entry systems that require skin contact e.g. fingerprint scanners or keypad entry systems
  • Require all workers to wash or clean their hands before entering or leaving work
  • Allow at least two metres between people waiting to enter the building
  • Regularly clean surfaces in common areas such as reception, office and delivery areas e.g. doors, scanners, turnstiles, screens, telephone handsets, desks etc. particularly during peak flow times
  • Reduce the number of people in attendance at site inductions / workplace meetings and consider holding them outdoors wherever possible
  • Drivers should remain in their vehicles if the load will allow it and must wash or clean their hands before and after loading or unloading goods and materials.
  • The workplace should be well ventilated / windows opened to allow fresh air circulation where possible

Toilet facilities

  • Restrict the number of people using toilet facilities at any one time e.g. use a welfare attendant
  • Wash hands before and after using the facilities
  • Enhance the cleaning regimes for toilet facilities particularly door handles, locks and the toilet flush
  • Provide suitable and sufficient rubbish bins for hand towels with regular removal and disposal.

Canteens and eating arrangements

With cafés and restaurants having been closed across the UK, canteens cannot operate as normal. Whilst there is a requirement for workplaces to provide a means of heating food and making hot drinks, these are exceptional circumstances and where it is not possible to introduce a means of keeping equipment clean between use, kettles, microwaves etc. must be removed from use. The workers should also be required to stay on site once they have entered it and not use local shops.

  • Dedicated eating areas should be identified on site to reduce food waste and contamination
  • Break times should be staggered to reduce congestion and contact at all times
  • Hand cleaning facilities or hand sanitiser should be available at the entrance of any room where people eat and should be used by workers when entering and leaving the area
  • The workforce should be asked to bring pre-prepared meals and refillable drinking bottles from home
  • Workers should sit 2 metres apart from each other whilst eating and avoid all contact
  • Where catering is provided on site, it should provide pre-prepared and wrapped food only
    • Any payments should be taken by contactless card wherever possible
    • Crockery, eating utensils, cups etc. should not be used
  • Drinking water should be provided with enhanced cleaning measures of the tap mechanism introduced
  • Tables should be cleaned between each use
  • All rubbish should be put straight in the bin and not left for someone else to clear up
  • All areas used for eating must be thoroughly cleaned at the end of each break and shift, including chairs, door handles, vending machines and payment devices.

Cleaning

  • Enhanced cleaning procedures should be in place across the site, particularly in communal areas and at touch points including:
    • Taps and washing facilities
    • Toilet flush and seats
    • Door handles and push plates
    • Hand rails on staircases and corridors
    • Machinery and equipment controls
    • Food preparation and eating surfaces
    • Telephone equipment
    • Keyboards, photocopiers and other office equipment
    • Lift and hoist controls
  • Rubbish collection and storage points should be increased and emptied regularly throughout the day and at the end of each day.
 
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