Occupational hygiene: supporting the logistics and distribution industry

Like most industries, logistics and distribution are currently dealing with some big changes, due mainly to an increase in customer demand. This industry is made up of six main areas: warehousing, storage, sea freight, road freight, aviation and railway. 8% of the UK’s total workforce is employed in logistics – that’s 2.5 million people2. It’s big business, so protecting the work environment for these employees is vital.

Sickness absence

Sickness absence can have a huge effect on organisations. According to the health and wellbeing at work survey, the average level of employee absence in 2019 was 5.9 days per employee per year, or 2.6% of working time lost -  managing employee attendance has never been more important. But sometimes, despite all efforts to control hazards in the workplace, employees may still experience symptoms of ill health. A tailored health surveillance programme will monitor and detect early signs of ill health and help you to maintain a healthy workforce.

Noise and fumes

In this industry, employees are predominantly exposed to excessive noise and fumes. For example, distribution centres can be incredibly noisy places due to the machinery used. These same employees can also be exposed to diesel fumes and elevated levels of carbon due to the high concentration of lorries and diesel-powered forklift trucks in the work area. Regular exposure monitoring and indoor air quality assessments can help to make sure the work environment remains safe.

Equally, if workplaces are experiencing increased customer demand, perhaps as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, then it’s also likely that local residential areas are experiencing increased noise levels due to an increase in traffic. In this case, an environmental noise survey might be beneficial to help avoid potential complaints and conflict from neighbours.

If you are unsure what your employees are being exposed to in their work environment, or you’re concerned about their health while at work, please get in touch with one of our team to discuss how we can help.

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