Last month I shared information on how to prevent forklift accident to reduce injuries, decrease costs, and maximize productivity. We are celebrating National Safety Month this June with 10 tips to ensure safe handling of material handling equipment in melbourne. Even if you’re not directly responsible for these assets the following guidance will help to create a safer and more productive work environment.

1. Make sure the operator is properly trained and certified to operate the equipment.

2. Pre-shift inspections of equipment should be done. All controls should be inspected, including the brakes, steering and warning devices. Notify management of all problems, log damages and flag any issues. You should not permit equipment that is damaged or unsafe to be used until it has been repaired or fixed.

3. You must ensure that the load is safe, stable, and appropriate to the equipment being used.

4. Always ensure that the operator is visible when moving. Use helpers if necessary.

5. Carrying loads is best done in the forward direction on ramps that go up and reverse on ramps that go down.

6. Reduce the load to move height and transport it with a slight back tilt.

7. Make sure you know how much weight your cargo is and that the equipment can carry it.

8. When not in motion, only raise or lower loads.

9. Safe speed is important for the environment. Keep a safe distance from other stationary and moving objects, people, or pieces of equipment.

10. When the forklift is not being used or left unattended, turn it off and take the key out.

These tips, if followed, will provide a solid foundation for safe material handling in your workplace.

Five Essential Steps for Material Handling Safety

Material handling is a key component of your business. Do you worry about safety when your employees are handling materials of different sizes and weights in their day to-to job tasks?

Surprisingly material handling is a major source of injuries and safety concerns in many workplaces. Let’s see why this is so and how we can create a safety plan for material handling.

Scope for Material Handling

Materials handling refers to any form of logistic movement that involves movement between vehicles and conveyors, storerooms, or other forms of logistics support in which employees are involved.

The amount of employee involvement in material handling will depend on the operation. It could be manual, semi-automated, or automated. These safety keys provide general guidance but would need to be tailored for specific material and logistic support situations.

A Comprehensive Material Handling Safety Policy

Senior management must establish policies and procedures to ensure a safe workplace. A comprehensive safety and health policy would provide guidelines for material handling and a training program for employees.

The policy should include the safety compliance activities that are essential to the business’s operation. The policy should inform employees about their shared responsibilities in maintaining a safe workplace.

These policies must adhere to both federal and provincial guidelines. Specific hazards must be addressed in safety and health policies for material handling, including but not limited to:

  • Poorly maintained lifting equipment
  • Lifting devices that exceed the load limit
  • Storage units and racking that are damaged
  • Repetitive or excessively heavy manual lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying of loads
  • Handling materials on a ladder/step stool
  • Being stuck between materials
  • Material that is improperly stored can cause fall
  • Incorrectly using securing device on materials
  • Moving equipment can cause collisions

Because the materials used in the workplace can be varied in size, shape and weight, the safety policies for material handling are different from one business to the next. To properly protect employees who work with materials, each business must have a policy that is tailored to their needs.

Material Handling Safety Training

Material handling in warehouses, distribution centers, shops floors, and loading docks poses safety risks to employees. Safety risks can be mitigated by training in awareness and procedures.

All new employees who are involved in lifting, carrying or loading material of any kind must receive safety training. In order to avoid potential safety violations and safety hazards, may need to be re-trained annually or at another regular interval.

Material Handling Safety Protocols

When safety procedures are consistently applied, the day-to-day handling of materials is safe and free from injury or accident. The procedures would include the type of material and the conditions in which the work area is conducted.

Are there no obstacles in the area? Are there sufficient lighting conditions? Another procedure would include the number of employees involved in specific handing events as well as the appropriate safety gear.

Here is a list of safe lifting and moving materials:

  • Keep your posture correct: Avoid bending over, and keep the lifts close to your body.
  • Avoid sudden movements and lift in a controlled, deliberate manner
  • Never raise materials from a sitting or twisting position to grab a heavy object.
  • You should use the correct grip when lifting objects. Lifts should be done with your shoulders raised and with complete grasp of your hands
  • To avoid lifting heavy objects repeatedly, get assistance from your co-workers
  • To avoid lifting or pushing objects, always use conveyors, slides, or other devices.
  • Never cross a blockage while carrying materials. Always follow the path around.
  • Keep a clear line of sight; objects shouldn’t block your vision. Lift only when there is enough lighting
  • Reduce load sizes and adjust bulky objects whenever possible to make it easier for movement
  • Keep your body in shape by regularly stretching your back and legs during the day.

These can be useful if they are posted or included in safety training manuals or modules.

How ACT can help with your material handling safety training

 Safety for material handling gear refers to the correct fit and use personal protection. This includes eye-protection as well as steel toed boots and other personal safety equipment.

When moving material, it is important to use the correct tools and equipment for material handling safety. This includes the safe use of forklifts, loaders, and conveyers to move material safely.

The day-to-day operations of a company and its customers depend on efficient logistics. Employees must be properly trained and equipped to work safely to meet material handling requirements.