This year is different from other years in that significantly more holiday shopping will be done online. The peak shopping season, which typically takes a toll on workers in the retail industry, will be more challenging for those involved in package delivery, warehouses and fulfillment centers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides guidelines to employers in the package delivery industry nationwide, including Ohio.
Both seasonal and permanent workers in warehouses and on delivery trucks are at increased risks. They need protection from injury and illness in loading docks, stockrooms, package delivery vehicles and wherever many workers are in close contact. Furthermore, any environments with high customer volumes also pose exposure risks.
According to OSHA safety standards, employers should do the following to protect package delivery and warehouse workers:
- Assess and evaluate the exposure and risks to which employees will be exposed.
- Select exposure prevention methods, while implementing and enforcing compliance by all workers.
- Employers should establish rosters with flexible work hours like staggered shifts, if feasible.
- Provide access to water and soap for handwashing on-site.
- Provide alcohol-based hand cleaners, disinfectants, towels and tissues to workers on trucks.
- Encourage them to clean not only their hands but also truck interiors and work surfaces.
- Encourage workers who are sick to stay at home.
- Encourage employees to report health and safety concerns that are not addressed by the employer.
The workers’ compensation system in Ohio covers workers across the state. If they become infected while on duty or suffer work-related injuries, they should report it to their employers as soon as possible. Workers’ compensation benefits typically include compensation to cover medical expenses and a percentage of lost wages for those who cannot return to work immediately.