The concept of personal protective equipment (PPE) has been widely discussed during the last 12 months, with this continuing to play a critical role in safeguarding key workers from the direct threat of Covid-19.

However, PPE is also used across an array of other sectors and applications, including factory and warehouse settings.

But what exactly is PPE, and what particular types of equipment are required in a warehouse setting? Let’s find out!

What is PPE?

In simple terms, PPE refers to types of clothing and equipment that are needed to keep workers, visitors and patients safe within a specific environment.

In private business settings such as factories and warehouses, PPE rules will vary from one employer to another. However, it’s widely accepted that employers are required to provide items of PPE to their workers for free, rather than transferring the cost to each individual.

You can also review PPE requirements and the necessary standards required across various applications here, with these regulations currently compliant with those formulated in the European Union (EU).

What are the Most Common Injuries in a Warehouse?

The PPE required in a warehouse is dictated by the most common injuries and accidents in this type of setting, with slips, trips and falls currently considered to be the most prevalent.

This was according to the HSE report from 2018/19, which found that slips, trips and falls were the single biggest contributor of non-fatal injuries that occured in warehouses during this period.

Accidents involving heavy-duty machinery also contribute significantly to both fatal and non-fatal injuries, particularly in the case of forklift operation, packaging machinery and pallet truck driving. The accidents caused by this type of equipment can often be severe, especially if workers become trapped in or underneath machinery.

The HSE reported that, in 2018, being trpeed by something collapsing or overturning caused a whopping 10% of all fatal accidents in UK warehouses.

This type of incident also accounted for 10% of all non-fatal accidents in this setting, so it’s a clear focus for warehouse and factory owners when purchasing equipment from reputable PPE suppliers.

What PPE is Recommended in a Warehouse?

While requirements will vary from one warehouse to another, there are some items of PPE that remain universally important in this type of location.

Take hard hats, for example, which are to be worn in any commercial or industrial setting both in and outdoors. These can provide protection against any kind of falling object, which remains a significant hazard in warehouses where items may be stocked and stacked high.

High visibility jackets are also a must for anyone working in low-light areas of a warehouse, while this type of PPE has become mandatory given the mobility of forklift drivers and pallet truck drivers.

Such clothing makes it easier to spot colleagues and navigate a warehouse safely, minimising the risk to everyone in the workplace.

Last, but not least, warehouse workers should also wear durable safety shoes during their shifts. These provide similar protection to hard hats, as they safeguard against falling objects and the risk posed by constantly moving forklift trucks.

Ideally, such shoes should have been awarded some form of accreditation or safety certificate, while they must also feature a steel toe and a tapered outsole to minimise the risk of tripping.