October 25, 2021

Are Your Employees Stealing PPE Supplies?

Masks, respirators, gloves and shields are all necessary to protect employees from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, these items are also easy targets for theft in the workplace.

For example, if someone is running low on their PPE supplies they might steal them off of another person’s desk or locker. This can create a huge safety hazard for both the employee who is being robbed and everyone else in that area.

It has been reported that the theft of PPE supplies has increased by 65% in the past year and continues to rise.

The CDC has stated that this is a result of both employees stealing from each other as well as an increase in criminals targeting these items for use or resale. Employers should be aware of their PPE supplies at all times, especially after COVID-19 began spreading faster than expected.

To prevent theft of PPE supplies, there are a few steps that employers can take.

List of PPE Supplies That Can Be Dispensed from a Vending Machine



Safety Glasses

Ear Plugs

Safety Vest

Ear Plugs


Hand Sanitizer



Lab Coats

and more…

Inventory Control

A good first step to prevent theft of ppe supplies is to monitor and control inventory. Keeping an accurate record on how much product has been sold will help you determine if there is a need for reordering before it becomes necessary.

Security Measures

Another way to reduce theft of personal protection equipment (PPE) is to take inventory of all PPE and make sure it’s locked up or otherwise secured. Even the mosthonest people have been known to steal if the right opportunity presents itself.

Limit Their Access

Never place masks or other safety equipment in areas where they’re easily accessible to other employees. Instead, keep them locked up if possible or on top of lockers so they cannot be seen by other workers who are not authorized to use them.

5 Steps to Prevent Theft of Personal Protective Equipment

  1. Require employees to sign their mask and respirator out.
  2. Use a vending system for PPE storage so that only designated people have access to them.
  3. Monitor the supplies in your workplace and track any missing items. If you notice theft, report it immediately before someone gets hurt!
  4. Only have the PPE supplies available in an area where they are needed.
  5. Have employees use their initials to mark all of the equipment so it can be traced back if stolen.

Learn More About How to Protect Your PPE Supplies

By following these steps, employers can prevent theft in their workplace and ensure that all PPE supplies are being used safely.

To minimize the risk of theft connected with masks and other PPE equipment, you should take appropriate precautions such as securing the majority of your supplies so that they are not accessible to others.

Employees who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will also be on the lookout for theft. If you notice someone is running low on resources, consider asking if they require anything from your locker or desk in order to keep their PPE equipment safe.

To help ensure that employees are not tempted to steal PPE supplies, some companies have resorted to locking up their supply of masks, respirators, gloves and shields in an industrial vending machine. This way the employee must swipe a card or enter a code before they can access any items inside it. If you’re interested in learning more about how this solution could work for your company, contact us today!