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No matter what happens, cargo needs to keep on moving. Because warehouse workers and other supply chain employees are essential, they need to be given the best quality protection. Masks, gloves, and temperature checks are all part of a good program, but they can be augmented with smart policies that make workers even safer.

What PPE Do Warehouse Workers Need?

The COVID-19 pandemic has made alterations to the traditional menu of protective equipment that warehouse workers need. Hard hats, reflective vests, goggles, and steel-toed boots are still mission-critical gear, but other items have now been added to the list:

  • Face masks: N95 face masks are the preferred choice for stopping infection, but these can still be in short supply. If these are unavailable, try looking for three-ply disposable face masks. The number of layers is essential in terms of providing enough filtration without making it hard to breathe.
  • Disposable Gloves: Although many warehouse workers are supplied with protective gloves already, these are meant to be worn continuously, which means that they can potentially spread infection. Any warehouse worker who isn’t wearing gloves, to begin with, should be supplied with vinyl gloves that can protect them from contaminated surfaces.
  • Non-Contact Thermometers: An elevated temperature can be the first sign of a COVID-19 infection. Warehouse personnel should be checked with a non-contact thermometer before entering the workplace. A body temperature over 100.4 degrees is considered a fever, but you may want to standardize at 100 degrees.

Personal protective equipment is good to have, but your workers must understand how to use it effectively. Training sessions are a must. Additionally, a set of good workplace policies is equally important as a set of good protective gear.

Protective Policies for Safer Warehouse Environments 

Everyone knows about social distancing, but what do you do about a sick employee? Warehouse policies are the best way to make sure an infection doesn’t spread. If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, the best practice is to shut down the entire workplace or warehouse for at least two weeks. This allows an appropriate amount of time to disinfect the premises and let exposed personnel self-quarantine.

Cleaning is an essential policy in terms of maintaining a healthy warehouse. The CDC recommends using FDA-approved disinfectant to clean high-touch surfaces (door handles, light switches, toilet seats, and machinery controls) once per day. Not all surfaces can withstand the same kinds of disinfectants. It’s best to use wipeable covers on electronics that aren’t waterproof, for example.

Here’s the most important thing: your personnel needs to feel safe. Not only do they need to feel safe from infection, but they also need to feel safe reporting symptoms of infection. They need to know that paid sick leave will cover the time they spend in quarantine. Lastly, if their department isn’t following best infection control best practices, they need to feel safe reporting it. If workers don’t feel safe, they’ll quit—leaving you with the cost for training their replacements—or they’ll fail to report illness, potentially infecting large numbers of personnel.

Here at AFFLINK, we help businesses keep their workers safe by providing a steady supply of high-quality protective and cleaning equipment. Keep your workers safe, healthy, and on the job—contact AFFLINK today for more information.


Image of Michael Wilson
About Michael Wilson

Michael Wilson is AFFLINK'S Vice President of Marketing and Communications. He has been with the organization since 2005 and provides strategic leadership for the entire supply chain team. In his free time, Michael enjoys working with the Wounded Warrior Project, fishing, and improving his cooking skills.

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