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What PPE Do You Need In A Warehouse And Why Is It Important?

October 18, 2023

Warehouses contain endless risks for workers, especially with moving forklifts, heavy objects, loud noise, extreme temperatures air pollutants and much more all potentially present.

Following proper health and safety guidance in any workplace is essential, especially within a warehouse environment. Alongside general safety training, wearing the correct PPE can also reduce many risks which can lead to injury, disease or death.

As with all forms of PPE, the exact type that needs to be worn very much depends on the specific threats present in that environment. Depending on what your warehouse specialises in, this could range from the shipment of ecommerce goods to handling flammable materials. Hence, any PPE needs to match the exact requirements of the application and industry.

While no substitute for an independent health and safety assessment, here are some of our top PPE picks for safety within a warehouse environment. 

Body Protection

male worker wearing headset in logistics distribut 2022 10 18 21 02 42 utc 1 from Metreel
  • Back support belts
  • Cold weather clothing
  • Coveralls (chemical or flame resistant)
  • High-vis clothing
  • Safety harness 

In a warehouse, the body may be subject to a physical impact (i.e. from a forklift) or even a fall from a height. Also, depending on the type of risks that employees come into contact with, they may need protection for their wider body due to chemical, heat, cold or flame exposure.

Therefore, PPE for the body must consider injuries in different forms, ensuring that any PPE offers sufficient protection. Often, additional PPE items will need to be worn to maximise the protection of the body PPE, i.e. protective gloves worn over a body suit to protect against chemical spillages. 

Eye & Face Protection

glassworker putting on goggles 2023 05 30 22 26 56 utc from Metreel
  • Dust goggles
  • Laser safety glasses
  • Face masks
  • Face shields
  • Safety goggles
  • Safety glasses (impact-proof, chemical resistant etc.)
  • UV protection glasses
  • Welding helmets 

The face, eyes, nose, mouth and neck can be subject to chemical splashes, irritation or flying debris within industrial environments.

Any PPE worn must protect the eyesight, skin and other facial features. Many eyewear PPE types can be adapted to ensure that other senses are not inhibited, to maximise safety.

For instance, some safety glasses can be prescriptive, ensuring the wearer still has adequate vision when performing tasks such as using machinery or driving a forklift. 

Hand Protection

safety gloves wearing 2022 12 16 11 40 33 utc from Metreel
  • Cold weather gloves
  • Cut resistant gloves
  • Disposable gloves
  • Electrical resistant gloves
  • Heat resistant gloves
  • Impact resistant gloves
  • Vibration resistant gloves
  • Welding gloves

Hands may need protection from general bacteria, especially in a warehouse where food is handled.

However, hand protection can also be needed to prevent serious injuries such as cuts, burns, frostbite or electrical shocks.

Hand PPE is very specific to the threat present, and the gloves (or hand and arm protection) will be made with specific properties as a result. Therefore, a worker may require several types of hand PPE depending on the type of work they carry out. 

Head Protection

head protection ppe
  • Balaclava face masks 
  • Bump caps
  • Cold weather helmets
  • Electrical safety helmets 
  • High-heat helmets and visors
  • Safety helmets
  • Welding helmets

Headwear PPE varies across different levels of impact, along with the types of risk that can be protected against. Alongside physical impact from a sharp or heavy object, this may include electrical shocks or chemical splashes. Some headwear PPE also offers extended protection for the eyes and face, such as visors that protect against damaging sparks and bright light.

PPE for the head must conform to various safety standards and regulations, such as EN 397:2012/EN 12492:2012. The head circumference of the wearer must also be measured to ensure a secure fit. 

Hearing Protection

ear defenders warehouse
  • Ear defenders
  • Ear plugs 

Exposure to loud noise even in short bursts can be extremely damaging to hearing, causing tinnitus or even permanent hearing loss.

Hearing PPE should be selected based on the required noise reduction rating (NRR), which will provide a guide of the level of decibel reduction that the ear will be exposed to. 

Foot Protection

footwear protection warehouse
  • Chemical resistant boots
  • Insulated boots
  • Metatarsal guards
  • Safety shoes
  • Slip-resistant boots
  • Static dissipative shoes
  • Steel toe cap boots
  • Waterproof boots
  • Welding boots

Warehouses pose various dangers for the feet, as well as the body as a whole should someone sustain a slip, trip or fall. 

Beyond immediate threats to the feet, the long-term health of the foot and spine as a whole can also be managed by wearing the correct footwear in the workplace. This may involve undertaking a workplace ergonomics assessment to determine the most appropriate footwear solutions, bearing in mind the need to also protect against additional hazards within a warehouse.

Respiratory Protection

young contemporary african american scientist in c 2022 03 09 22 17 45 utc from Metreel
  • Disposable face masks (surgical masks, N95, FFP2, FPP3 etc.)
  • Full face respirators
  • Powered air purifying Respirators (PAPRs)
  • Supplied air respirators (SARs)

In recent years we have become a lot more aware of the quality of the air we breathe both in our homes as well as within the workplace.

Warehouse workers must have adequate respiratory protection based on the type of work that is being carried out. For maintenance or construction tasks, this level of respiratory PPE will likely require enhanced measures compared with general warehouse tasks.

Employers can also install devices to monitor air quality levels, including those which detect harmful particles within the air. 

Metreel – Manual Handling Equipment For Safer Warehouses

With manual handling injuries being some of the most common injury types within a warehouse setting, there’s never been a better time to protect your team.

Metreel is a leading UK manufacturer and installer of manual handling equipment including Jib Cranes, Workstation Cranes, Track Systems, Gantry Cranes, Monorails and Hoists, Balancers & Winches.

Click on any of the above product categories to learn more about how material handling equipment can make your workplace safer while improving productivity for your business.

Or, head over to our product brochure page to discover our full range of industrial solutions. 

If you’re ready to place an order or have any questions, please give us a call on 0115 932 7010 or email us at [email protected].