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As businesses and homes find new ways to adapt to the coronavirus and keep each other safe, it’s been important to understand the occasionally conflicting information being released about the virus.

One of the things that experts have gone back and forth on, as they uncover new information about the virus, is how well it transmits across surfaces. While the most up-to-date information from the CDC maintains that the virus is typically spread through respiratory droplets and less so through shared surfaces (hence the need for masks until a cure can be found), these droplets can still come into contact with the surfaces around us every day. Reports from the CDC show that surfaces that come into contact with respiratory droplets that may be carrying coronavirus could potentially transmit it for anywhere from a few hours to several days later, so while surfaces aren’t the primary transmission method, keeping various surfaces and items clean can go a long way towards preventing the spread of the disease.

This brings up a potentially thorny question: what do you do about items coming into your warehouse? Hopefully the various drivers, delivery people, and even staff at the facility where the items were made have been taking every precaution, but these days you can’t be too sure. As space and time permits, it might be a good idea to create a special ‘decontamination station’ for any incoming items that can be safely cleaned and disinfected, such as retail goods and shipping materials, before they enter the warehouse proper.


Disinfecting Shipments Into The Warehouse


The key to being able to disinfect any of your shipments is to make a designated area to clean them off before they come into the warehouse. As close to the entrance as you can (but blocked off from the standard shipping department to avoid cross contamination, potentially using warehouse partitions where able), set up some sterile shelving (such as antimicrobial polymer shelving) and give your employees the equipment they need to safely disinfect these items, such as gloves, masks, and bleach wipes. Obviously the disinfection methods will vary from product to product (and may not even be necessary for some items, such as clothing or other fabric goods), but cleaning things off before they hit the general inventory area can be a huge start to curbing the spread of germs and viruses.


Try to time your shipments in a way that they can stay in this area for a day at best (or, at the very least, a few hours after being wiped down) before being taken back to your general inventory. Even if they’ve been counted as part of the inventory itself, you don’t want them mingling too closely with the rest of your inventory to prevent accidental cross-contamination. Keep them here for as long as possible before adding them to your primary inventory, and it should go a long way towards keeping your staff and customers safe.

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