Image shows a warehouse worker wearing PPE - a white hard hat and breathing mask, orange gloves and a yellow vest. A.R.M. Action Resource Management.Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) — PPE is any clothing, helmet, glove, face shield, goggle, facemask, respirator, or other equipment that is designed to protect the wearer from injury or infection, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

Its purpose is to protect workers from chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other workplace hazards. Wearing it minimizes the risks of workplace injuries and illness. Your protective equipment should fit comfortably and be maintained in a clean and reliable condition.

Reducing injuries with PPEImage shows an injured warehouse worker on the floor from a fall accident. A.R.M. Action Resource Management.

The most common injuries in warehouses are musculoskeletal disorders (mainly from overexertion in lifting and lowering) and being struck by powered industrial trucks and other materials handling equipment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 21 fatal warehouse injuries in the U.S. in 2020, and 2.7 million reported warehouse injuries and illnesses.

  • PPE such as hard hats protects workers from head injuries caused by falling objects, bumps, or electrical contact.
  • Safety vests can increase the visibility of workers and prevent collisions with vehicles or equipment.
  • Masks can protect workers from dust, fumes, or other respiratory hazards.Image shows a variety of PPE, including work boots, hard hat, goggles, and heavy-duty gloves. A.R.M. Action Resource Management.
  • Belts can support the back and prevent strains or sprains when lifting heavy objects.
  • Eyewear can shield the eyes from flying particles, chemicals, and even UV rays.
  • Proper footwear can prevent slips, trips, and falls. In fact, they can protect the feet from punctures or burns.
  • Wearing gloves can reduce the risk of hand injuries by 60%, according to OSHA.
PPE can include gloves, hard hats, safety vests, masks, belts, eyewear, and footwear
How to choose, use, and maintain Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)Image of handsome young man warehouse worker wearing a yellow hard hat and yellow safety vest. A.R.M. Action Resource Management.

Consider the type of work you do, the hazards you face, and the fit and comfort of the personal protective equipment. Your job will usually provide a list of PPE requirements. It should fit well and be comfortable to wear. Follow manufacturers’ instructions on how to wear, adjust, and maintain the PPE. Clean and sanitize PPE after each use and store it in a designated place every time. Inspect before each use and replace any damaged or worn-out items.

Image shows a group of young warehouse workers smiling, posed for a photo, two seated on boxes on a pallet and two standing. A.R.M. Action Resource Management.Final thoughts

PPE -Personal Protective Equipment- can be lifesaving. If your job suggests that you use it, use it. If they insist that you use it, use it. Just use it. Do your part in creating a safe workplace. Always follow manufacturers’ wear and care instructions and replace anything broken or torn. Stay safe out there!

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