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Warehouse PPE Checklist

Warehouse PPE Checklist

Once you have performed a hazard assessment of your facility, you will need to identify what PPE you need to supply for your warehouse workers. Providing your employees with the proper PPE equipment ensures they are protected against potential hazards and will help reduce the risk of injury in your workplace.

What is PPE?

PPE stands for personal protective equipment, which is equipment and safety apparel that is worn to protect the body against hazards that can cause serious injuries in the workplace. Providing workplace PPE for your employees is important because it effectively minimizes the risk of physical injuries and long-term conditions, such as back pain.

PPE in a Warehouse

Warehouses can present a multitude of potential hazards, such as falling objects, moving vehicles, dust and particles, electrical equipment, loud equipment, and hazardous chemicals. It is important to keep workers' bodies protected against these hazards by providing them with proper-fitting PPE. PPE for warehouses should include coverage for the vulnerable parts of the body such as the eyes, head, feet, hands, and ears.

Worker wearing safety glasses and a hard hat

1. Eye and Face Protection

Providing proper eye and face protection reduces the risk of foreign bodies coming into contact with the eyeballs, nose, and mouth of your workers.

  • Safety glasses feature safety frames, safety lenses, and side shields to provide impact protection against dust and flying objects. 
  • Safety goggles provide complete coverage around the eyes and feature an adjustable head strap to ensure a secure fit with most head sizes. They are ideal for situations where workers need enhanced protection against liquids, dust, and flying objects.
  • Face masks and respirators can help protect workers from inhaling harmful dust, particulates, and other airborne substances into their lungs while on the job. A respirator dust mask is great for lighter jobs while a particulate respirator protects you and your staff from heavier dust, dirt, and plaster.

Worker wearing a hard hat and safety glasses

2. Head Protection

Head PPE provides effective protection against falling heavy objects as well as extreme temperatures.

  • Hard hats protect workers from falling objects and debris. They feature either a 4-point or 6-point suspension that helps distribute weight and force throughout the entire hard hat so that less force is concentrated in one area during impact to better protect the user.
  • Balaclava face masks are made of high-quality thermal fleece to provide total protection for the head and neck from cold temperatures, wind, and dust. They fit comfortably beneath hard hats and helmets without being bulky and can even be tucked into a jacket to keep cold air out. Balaclava face masks are ideal for providing in perishable distribution warehouses and other facilities where workers are exposed to cold temperatures for extended periods of time. 

Packer opening a box with warehouse gloves

3. Hand and Arm Protection

Hand and arm PPE provides a layer of protection against sharp or hazardous objects as well as extreme temperatures.

  • Warehouse gloves are designed to make packing orders safe and easy.
  • Work gloves protect hands against cuts, heat, and liquids when handling hazardous materials or operating machinery. There are light-duty options for light box lifting, as well as heavy-duty gloves that are ideal for working with machinery.

Person wearing steel toe boots using a hand truck

4. Foot and Leg Protection

Ensuring your employees have the correct foot and leg protection for the job is essential to their safety, comfort, and productivity.

  • Steel toe work shoes feature a steel capping over the toe area to provide maximum protection against falling objects. They are ideal for workers who work with or around heavy machinery and objects, such as forklift operators. Steel toe shoes are the most common type of safety shoe used in a warehouse because of their high impact resistance.
  • Composite toe work shoes are made from a combination of durable, non-metal materials such as Kevlar, carbon fiber, and plastic. Composite toe boots are more lightweight and breathable than steel toe shoes while still providing ample protection against falling objects. They are a great option for workers who will be on their feet for extended periods of time, such as warehouse packers.

Warehouse worker wearing a safety vest

5. Body Protection

Proper body protection for a warehouse includes providing high-visibility clothing for workers in low-lit areas as well as those in areas where material handling equipment passes through. It is also important to provide protective items that can be worn to prevent injuries from frequent heavy lifting.

  • High-visibility jackets are great for when you need proper visibility and cold protection in extreme conditions.
  • High-visibility vests are lightweight and reflective. They are essential for workers that work near hazards, such as moving vehicles, and need to be spotted easily.
  • Back support belts provide additional lumbar support when lifting heavy objects to reduce the risk of injury and back pain.

Person putting corded disposable earplugs in their ear

6. Hearing Protection

Disposable earplugs or safety ear muffs will help reduce the noise of loud machinery and protect workers from eardrum damage or hearing loss in the future.

  • Disposable earplugs come in a corded or cordless design and are made of a foam material that expands and conforms to a person's ear canal shape for ultimate comfort. Since the cost of disposable earplugs does add up, they are ideal for occasional use or for establishments with only a few areas with a high noise level.
  • Behind-the-head earmuffs typically feature an ultra-light design and can be used with most hard hats.
  • Cap-mount earmuffs are designed to easily attach to a hard hat for safe, effective protection. Make sure the earmuffs are compatible with the hard hard prior to purchasing.
  • Over-the-head earmuffs are ideal for locations where wearing a hard hat isn't required.

Tips When Choosing PPE for Your Workers

In addition to choosing a type of PPE, you must make sure it complies with OSHA standards, fits your workers properly, and that your workers are properly trained on how to use it.

  • OSHA requires that many categories of PPE meet or be equivalent to standards developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
  • Ensure each and every PPE item properly fits your workers. If PPE is not properly fitted, it can be just as dangerous as not wearing any at all.
  • Train employees on your PPE. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
    • When and where PPE is necessary in your facility.
    • How to properly wear the PPE.
    • Proper care and maintenance of the PPE.
    • The limitations of the PPE.

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