Bureau Veritas states demand-driven distribution sector must prioritise delivering on employee safety
Aug. 20 2020
Against the backdrop of new pressures and evolving requirements for the modern distribution centre, Bureau Veritas is advising the absolute importance of prioritising the health and safety of employees for this increasingly in-demand industry.
With the nationwide lockdown having escalated the already growing online shopping trend, recent months have seen the online retail world, and its associated logistical set up, face new pressures to meet overwhelming demand. Worryingly, however, as the distribution and warehouse sector has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to continue to serve the public need, it has continued to fall prey to the COVID-19 pandemic – with a recent study revealing it to be one of the sectors most at risk of contracting the coronavirus.1
Cue increasing pressure for logistics operators to place greater diligence on ensuring their operations are in line with ‘COVID-secure’ measures and maintain absolute best health and safety practice at all times.
This pressing need follows expert predictions2 that the lockdown will leave a legacy of retailers increasingly moving away from bricks and mortar establishments in favour of an e-commerce based strategy supported with a mini distribution centres – making it even more important for the sector to ensure optimum safety measures ahead of time.
Talking of the recent pressures faced by the sector, Joe Marias, Occupational Hygiene Team Leader at Bureau Veritas, comments: “There is no doubt that the warehouse and distribution sector has played a tremendous role in supporting the nation as it has continued to keep goods moving to store shelves and customer doorsteps during the pandemic, all while adhering to strict social distancing guidelines and often operating with minimal staff.
“Unfortunately, however, it hasn’t evaded the impact of the pandemic and, as demonstrated by a recent spate of media headlines, the sector, by its nature and sheer scale of operation involved, remains more prone to contracting the virus.
“As such, at a time we are all adjusting to the new normal of eased lockdown measures, it is incredibly important that logistics operators take the time to refocus and evolve their health and safety measures as needed to ensure the safety of employees. This becomes even more pertinent given the industry leaning towards an online retail model supported by increased distribution facilities – putting the onus on getting the basics right now.”
With a longstanding history in supporting the warehouse and distribution sector, Bureau Veritas’s expert Occupational Hygiene team is hosting a special webinar on 1 September designed to assist sorting and distribution facilities to protect their employees from exposure to substances hazardous to health.
The free to attend webinar will specifically cover Regulations 6 and 7 of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations which place a duty on employers to ensure that employee exposures to any substance hazardous to health is adequately controlled. In sorting and distribution facilities, common hazardous substances may include total particulate matter (dust) or vehicle emissions.
Joe, adds: “As a business which works with a number of major organisations across all sectors to identify and mitigate risks to employees, we’re delighted to bring this new webinar for storage and distribution facilities in particular.
“Inherently, the COSHH regulations bring some specific challenges so we have designed this seminar to enable a better understanding and provide guidance effective management systems –helping clients to enhance safety and improve confidence across workplaces.
“This latest session forms part of an ongoing commitment to delivering world-class webinars in all fields of occupational health and safety. Amid a growing onus on workplace safety in this sector, we’d encourage all clients to make the most of this valuable opportunity to learn more in this field.”