6 Critical Material Handling Tips to Make Your Workplace Safer

6 Critical Material Handling Tips to Make Your Workplace Safer

By Kevin Hill

Safety is of utmost importance in every industry. If you deal with handling heavy loads on a daily basis, then you must follow safe material handling techniques. It won’t just reduce injuries but also increase productivity and profits.

This article focuses on 6 important material handling tips.

6 Important Material Handling Tips

Design an Ergonomic Workplace

A workplace with the right ergonomics will reduce various risk factors.

There are three common ergonomic risk factors:

  1. Forceful exertions like pushing and pulling or carrying heavy loads
  2. Repetitive motions such as carrying, lifting or frequent reaching
  3. Incorrect postures like bending and twisting

An ergonomically designed workspace considers the task requirements and the capability of your workforce in order to reduce fatigue and minimize discomfort for your employees. This further brings down the risk of injuries.

Use Proper Body Mechanics  

It is critical that the workers use their bodies properly while handling different materials. Encourage good biomechanics and work technique amongst the workers. It will also improve work processes and promote productivity.

The workers must follow the guidelines on carrying heavy loads for long distances. When possible, convert carrying tasks to push/pull tasks by utilizing carts. This will reduce worker strain significantly while increasing the number of items they can transport per trip.

Poor body mechanics and work technique will increase the risk of injuries. Get equipment that minimizes manual lifting and material handling, and switch carry tasks to push/pull tasks by utilizing carts where applicable.

Use Material Handling Weighing Scales

Incorporate weighing scales with forklifts and conveyor belts to boost productivity in the workplace. There are several advantages to using accurate material handling scales. Some include:

  • You can weigh materials and monitor inventory accurately
  • Higher efficiency and revenues
  • You can comply with safety and health regulations
  • Accurate shipping and invoicing

Use Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) will prevent injuries that can otherwise be avoided.

When employees handle or move materials manually, they must use the following PPE:

  • Eye protection such as safety goggles
  • Hand and forearm protection like gloves
  • Steel-toed safety shoes
  • Metal or plastic metatarsal guards to protect the in-step area from impact or compression

Respond to Reports of Fatigue and Discomfort 

Fatigue and discomfort are common while performing manual material handling tasks.

If you notice signs of fatigue in the workers, take remedial actions immediately. This would ensure that the fatigue doesn’t develop into an injury which could require medical treatment.

Encourage your staff to report instances of fatigue and discomfort. Implement control measures that help in preventing fatigue from developing into an injury.

Use the Right Material Handling Equipment  

Choosing material handling equipment is critical. The right material handling techniques and equipment will make tasks quicker, safer and easier. The workers should make sure their carts and material handling equipment are in proper working condition to ensure the maximum reduction in risk of injury. 

Good ergonomic material handling equipment will reduce injury risks when workers have to lift or push and pull heavy loads. It will also eliminate the chances of musculoskeletal problems.

Using tools like carts and conveyor belt scales will improve safety while handling loads of different sizes and weights. Invest in material handling equipment like carts, pallets, shelves, and automated equipment. Bulk material equipment like trucks with scales might also benefit you.

Key Learning

Educate the concerned personnel about material handling. Provide necessary training to everyone. Make them understand the importance of observing safety while handling materials. Take advantage of technology to make material handling tasks easier.

Download the Guide to Designing MMH Carts.

Author Bio:

Kevin Hill heads up the marketing efforts at Quality Scales Unlimited in Byron, CA. Besides his day job, he loves to write about the different types of scales and their importance in various industries. He also writes about how to care for and get optimized performance from different scales in different situations. He enjoys spending time with family and going on camping trips.