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Viimati uuendatud: 15.04.2020

Occupational health and safety guidelines for preventing the spread of the coronavirus: warehouses

Download the instructions as a PDF file.

  • Consider if some of the employees could continue working via telework. If that can be done, the option should be used as much as possible. 
  • Employees must monitor their health. Their state of health must be assessed honestly – if they show any signs of illness (cough, runny nose, fever, breathing difficulties), they must not come to work and the employer must not ask the employee with signs of illness to continue work. If colleagues notice that their co-worker has any symptoms of illness, the employee must be sent home and asked to contact their family physician or call the family physician advisory line 1220. 
  • Instruct employees to keep a distance of at least two metres with each other and with customers. In cases where this is not possible, the employee must wear a face mask and eye protection. Instructions on how to put on, use, remove, and discard the mask can be found in the WHO guide. The supervisor must notify the employee if they fail to comply with these requirements and, in the event of repeated non-compliance, explain the importance of compliance, the consequences of non-compliance, and if necessary, take more stringent measures. 
  • Make disposable nitrile or vinyl gloves available to employees to reduce virus transmission. Do not touch your face or other uncovered parts of your body while wearing gloves. Wash and/or disinfect hands before and after using gloves. When removing gloves, do not touch the outside part of the gloves. Gloves may not be reused. Used gloves must be stored in a closed bag, separate from other waste, and can be disposed as non-hazardous waste after 72 hours. 
  • If the employee has been in close contact (direct physical contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, e.g. shaking hands, hugging, coughing, being in the same room with the person for at least 15 minutes and closer to them than two metres, being in a vehicle near a symptomatic COVID-19-positive individual, including sitting in the same row and two rows in front or behind) and informed the employer, they must be sent home for self-isolation. The need for the latter must also be explained to the employee. 
  • The premises in which the person with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis has been must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. In the meantime, regular operation in these premises must be suspended. We recommend to proceed from the assumption that 72 hours is currently considered to be the period after which most pathogens are destroyed on physical surfaces. To clean the surfaces, they must first be washed with a soap solution and then disinfected, paying particular attention to frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles, handrails, etc. The person responsible for cleaning must wear gloves and an apron. If the surfaces are heavily contaminated (e.g. sneezing or coughing marks), face protection (eye, nose, mouth protection) must be worn during cleaning. After cleaning, hands must be washed with soap for at least 20 seconds and the used personal protective equipment must be disposed of in accordance with the COVID-19 waste sorting procedure. 
  • It is not recommended to switch off the ventilation system in industrial companies, even when not working there. The ventilation system must operate at least at 40% capacity. A ventilation system with reduced capacity must be switched to full capacity mode at least two hours before the building or a part of the building is used. If recirculating ventilation systems are used, they must be switched completely to outside air to prevent the possible circulation of viruses through the ventilation system. If the building does not have ventilation systems for indoor climate, the rooms must be thoroughly ventilated. Ventilate at least once an hour and for 15 minutes before the gathering of several people. Room-based recirculating cooling or heating equipment (e.g. fan convector, fan-coil, splitter) must normally be switched off. If the fan heater is running, it must be set so that the fan does not switch off in the meantime. This prevents the virus from accumulating in the filter. 
  • The waste which is likely to be contaminated with the virus, including gloves, cloths used for cleaning surfaces, and protective masks, must be kept separately from other waste in a sealed bag and disposed of as regular domestic waste after 72 hours. 
  • Hand washing and disinfecting products and hand washing instructions must be installed near sinks. Disinfectants must also be provided on staff routes and in rest areas; they should also be provided to possible guests entering the building. Employees must be instructed to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at least every two hours. If hand washing is not possible, an at least 70% ethanol-based hand antiseptic should be used. The antiseptic should also be used when making deliveries. Gloves are to be used when moving shipments. 
  • The surfaces which are touched by several people (such as railings, door handles, elevators, light switches, keyboards) must be cleaned and disinfected more frequently to prevent the spreading of the coronavirus. Non-work rooms (e.g. changing rooms, toilets, washrooms, canteens) also need to be cleaned more frequently. Toilets and washrooms should be disinfected in addition to cleaning. Cleaning must be carried out by a person with proper training; they also need to have appropriate personal protective equipment (e.g. gloves, goggles, mask). 
  • As the virus will remain on contaminated surfaces for up to 3 days, but can be destroyed by cleaning and disinfection, the persons responsible for cleaning need to be provided with the required cleaning equipment and detailed instructions (incl. cleaning schedules specifying the required frequency) and a training on cleaning the premises and surfaces must be organised. Specific instructions for efficient cleaning of surfaces and ensuring the safety of the employee can be found at If cleaning work is carried out by an external service provider, more efficient and frequent cleaning of surfaces and premises must be agreed upon. 
  • Clothes used at work must not be taken home. The employer should arrange for the regular cleaning of working clothes or use a suitable service provider for the task. Additionally, the number of working clothes should be taken into consideration, if it is enough to prevent the spread of the contagion. Clothes should be washed at the maximum permitted temperature. It is also advised to change the footwear for work. 
  • When organising meetings, you should first consider whether it is possible to carry out meetings online. If this cannot be done, involve as few participants as possible at a time and try to make sure the meetings are short. A distance of two metres must also be maintained between those present. Consider whether the meeting could be held outdoors. If the two-metre distance cannot be ensured, protective masks may be used if possible and necessary. Use the masks only if the employees know how to correctly put on and remove them and if the principles of using a mask safely are followed. 
  • The times of the breaks, incl. the lunch break, of the employees should also be spaced out, if possible, to avoid the gathering of too many employees in the breakroom, for example, at the same time. 
  • Employees providing services in the company (e.g. equipment installers, repairers) and their employers are informed about the obligation and possibilities of washing and disinfecting hands and the rule of keeping a distance of 2 metres, as well as using a protective mask if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained. 
  • Freight drivers of an external service provider must be informed that they may only leave the cabin of the car when absolutely necessary.

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