Can Cleaning the Air Help Limit the Spread of COVID-19 in Warehouses?
Precautionary measures such as wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing, and constant hand sanitation are all effective ways to help limit the spread of COVID-19. But what about the air? Cleaning the air is another precaution that can help limit the spread of airborne viruses and bacteria. Warehouses and distribution centers, which typically hold dozens to hundreds of employees, can be especially susceptible due to difficulty in effectively distancing workers from each other. However, by cleaning the air, we can help keep warehouse staff healthy and safe.
How COVID-19 Spreads in Warehouses
Unlike many other jobs, warehouse workers are unable to work from home. This makes social distancing almost impossible, which allows for the transmission of COVID-19 from breathing, talking, sneezing, or coughing near others. The real problem, however, comes from the assembly line-like nature of warehouses where workers are often less than six feet away from each other.
Major e-commerce companies have experienced widespread transmission in their facilities. With orders for online groceries increasing 50x, the demand for products is astronomical, and many workers are staying on to fulfill these orders. Because social distancing is tough in these environments, transmission can happen quickly. According to the New York Times, “since the first worker in the Queens facility learned on March 18 that he had tested positive, [Amazon] has learned of cases in more than 50 other facilities.”
COVID-19 cases in warehouses could result from workers being unaware that they have the virus. If they continue to come to work (unaware that they have it) and cough or sneeze around other workers, they could contribute to rapid transmission in these facilities. As more and more employees get sick, this could even lead to facility shutdowns to help protect employees and any product that could be contaminated.
The Business Impacts of COVID-19 in Warehouses
Employee health is the number one priority for warehouses that are still operating during the pandemic, but there are other problems businesses face, too. With some workers simply choosing to take unpaid time off, distributors and warehouse operations are struggling to operate at their normal pace.
Due to a shortage of workers, companies like Amazon are unable to keep up with the supply chain. Trucks are delivering products, but sitting in the lot for days before anyone can unload them. Even after they have stopped accepting new shipments that were not considered priority products, many are still struggling to maintain a smooth flow of operations. Some warehouses are even shutting down due to the virus.
Cleaning the Air in Warehouses
Warehouses are often crowded, with a lot of people in very close proximity to each for long periods of time, and COVID-19 has been shown to stay airborne for up to three hours. This is an ideal environment for viruses and bacteria. So, how can we help eliminate them in this kind of environment? By using an air filtration system that captures and destroys airborne viruses and bacteria before returning cleaned air into the facility.
Purafil has long been the leader in air filtration, and its new line of air filtration solutions is an effective way for warehouses to limit the spread of aerosols carrying viruses and bacteria. Each piece of equipment offers four stages of filtration, including a filter with Puraward fiber (PWF) technology and patented molecular filtration. PuraWard filters are protected from many viruses, bacteria, and mold using copper and silver ions†.
Minimize the spread of viruses by effectively cleaning the air with a Purafil air filtration system. They are available in varying sizes and airflows and remove 99.99% of aerosols carrying viruses*. To learn more about Purafil’s air filtration equipment and how it can help keep warehouse employees safe and healthy, visit our website.
*Laboratory testing demonstrated 99.99% reduction of aerosols carrying MS2. Copies of the full test reports are available upon request. † Filter protected by an EPA-registered antimicrobial additive. §Patent number US 9,370,763 B2