Studies have shown that our handheld devices, such as cell phones, are covered in germs and microorganisms. Handheld printers and scanners in your warehouse are no different. What can you do to protect your warehouse staff and keep shared devices clean?
How Dirty Are Your Warehouse’s Handheld Devices?
One of the things the COVID-19 pandemic revealed was the importance of cleanliness and hygiene when it comes to disease prevention. We all learned to wash our hands repeatedly and avoid situations that could spread infections. But how dirty are your warehouse’s handheld devices? It turns out they can be pretty gross.
Let’s assume a handheld device is similar to a cell phone. A recent study revealed there is an average of 17,000 gene copies on a single cell phone. While it’s commonly believed that a bathroom houses the most bacteria in any home or workplace, the truth is that a cell phone can house up to ten times more bacteria than a toilet seat.
Why do handheld devices get so dirty? People often bring handheld devices into dirty environments. They set them down, touch dirty things with their hands, and then pick the devices back up.
While most bacteria aren’t anything to worry about, some harmful pathogens can be passed onto a device’s surface. This can happen by touching the phone with contaminated hands, coughing on it, or setting it down on a surface with hazardous materials. Some of the most common harmful bacteria found on handheld devices include:
- Coagulase Negative Staphylococci (CoNS)
Although infectious doses of these pathogens vary, you want to avoid these entering your system. Once, they do, they can spread quickly from person to person.
Why is Maintaining Warehouse Hygiene Important?
Focusing on hygiene at your warehouse facility is vital for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that employers provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. If you know your facility or equipment spreads diseases and do nothing to prevent workers from becoming ill, you may be in violation of OSHA standards.
Simply keeping your workers safe from illness is a positive move for your business. It reduces absenteeism rates, improves productivity, and boosts employee morale.
Finally, your brand’s reputation is on the line. If your business becomes known as one that doesn’t care about its workers or easily spreads diseases, this could impact your company’s reputation and sales.
The Benefits of Focusing Hygiene in Your Warehouse
As more becomes known about keeping surfaces clean, we also learn about the benefits of implementing these programs in the workplace.
1. Reduced contamination risks
A clean workspace and decontaminated devices are less likely to carry harmful contaminants and bacteria that can lead to illness.
2. Improved employee productivity
A tidy and clean workspace is more pleasant for employees, who may become distracted or annoyed with subpar equipment or clutter. A few simple decontamination steps can lead to improved productivity and profits for the business.
3. Reduced maintenance costs and waste
A well-run warehouse is less likely to have costly equipment losses and breakdowns.
4. Extended equipment life
When you take care of your handheld devices by keeping them clean, you also remove any dust and debris that can impact their functionality. So they will last longer.
How to Protect Your Warehouse Staff from Illness
Warm environments, like warehouses, are breeding grounds for microbial growth. That’s why it’s important for warehouses to have strict guidelines for hygiene. Here are some of the ways your warehouse can protect workers from illness.
1. Sanitize and Disinfect
Sanitize and disinfect all of your handheld devices at the end of each shift or between users. Beyond this, make sure you are disinfecting all surfaces. Employees must also wash their hands properly after handling products, boxes, and devices. Staff should use a bleach solution that contains a minimum of 70% alcohol.
2. Maintain a Cleaning Schedule
Warehouses are busy environments. But that’s no excuse for compromising on cleanliness and hygiene. You should establish a well-defined cleaning schedule for your warehouse areas and equipment. Waste should be removed promptly so it doesn’t build up and attract pests or germs. Also, employees should adopt a clean-as-you-go mindset in addition to periodic deep cleaning events.
3. Use the FIFO Method
Warehouses should apply the First In, First Out (FIFO) method when arranging devices and products. If the same device is used over and over, it’s going to get worn out and will be more likely to harbor bacteria. And many products have expiration dates. Using this methodology makes it easier to maintain a safe and illness-free environment.
4. Label All Devices
Every device, product, and asset in your warehouse should be labeled so that staff can more easily track items and maintain a flawless cleaning schedule. Barcodes and RFID tags are excellent for these purposes. Through proper labeling, you will know where your devices are at all times and can even record each instance of disinfection.
5. Have the Necessary Equipment
It’s vital to have all the necessary cleaning products and tools on hand and to restock these items before they run out. These items should be made available to make the disinfection process more effective and convenient.
6. Provide Training
Your staff should be properly trained on the importance of disinfecting handheld devices and surfaces as well as the correct ways to do this. Make sure the training is ongoing so staff can remain up to date with any changing conditions, rules, or regulations.
If you’re running a warehouse of any size, it’s important to have a good system in place for maintaining cleanliness and hygiene throughout the facility. One way to do this is to ensure that all employees follow proper sanitary procedures when handling items such as handheld devices. These tips can help you avoid issues such as employee illnesses and reduced productivity.