With a tidal wave of Omicron cases, many logistics firms across the UK are panicking as existing supply pressures are exacerbated by high numbers of delivery drivers, warehouse workers and other logistics staff isolating at home, says UK-based manual handling experts, Midland Pallet Trucks.
Despite orders to work from home where possible to contain the virus and reduce transmissions, recent Government guidance does little to protect businesses in the manufacturing and logistics industries, where work is unable to be completed at home. Although double-vaccinated workers no longer have to quarantine for 10 days, the lack of testing availability will prove difficult for businesses trying to monitor Covid infections in warehouses across the country.
According to Midland Pallet Trucks, many businesses in the industry will be affected by the rising coronavirus cases and will be put under extreme threat from sudden staff shortages. There are also fears among experts that the supply chain disruptions seen during 2021 will return after increases in employees isolating.
Warehouse operators are already under extreme pressure due to the recent rapid seasonal demand, as well as the rise in returns that will be making their way through the supply chain throughout January. Warehouses are being urged to stock up on vital manual handling equipment like pallet trucks, manual stacker trucks and lift tables from Midland Pallet Trucks to help them operate as efficiently as possible in spite of shortages.
Phil Chesworth, managing director of Midland Pallet Trucks says: “With Omicron cases higher than ever, we’re definitely seeing a huge surge in the number of staff off isolating. The challenges that come with staff quarantining are amplified by seasonal handling requirements – there really couldn’t be a worse time for these staff shortages to happen after the holiday rush that we just experienced.
“We’re encouraging warehouse operators to do what they can to run as smoothly as possible; taking advantage of any support the Government offers, making sure you’re stocked up on durable and effective manual handling equipment, and encouraging staff to test daily to reduce the impact potential infections could have on their business.”