According to research, American businesses spend a monumental $1 billion per week. These costs are directly and indirectly connected to serious, non-fatal workplace injuries. In some industries, workplace safety is a major concern.
Material handling happens to be a considerable risk. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set important guidelines for employers. Every business needs to follow these OSHA material handling guidelines.
Safe material handling will prevent workplace injuries. Additionally, it’ll prevent unwanted worker’s comp lawsuits, improve productivity, and increase market share.
So how do you promote safe material handling in your company? Keep reading to find an exhaustive list of the best material handling tips available.
1. Design an Ergonomic Workplace
You could be running a logistics or manufacturing business. Regardless, material handling is a critical aspect of your day-to-day operations. Despite automation, you may still rely on manual material handling using various equipment.
There are numerous ergonomic risk factors in material handling industries. Designing an ergonomic workplace should be a priority. Ergonomic risk factors are caused by physical fatigue in manual material handling environments.
There are three primary factors when it comes to economic risks. These include:
- Repetitive motions
- Stressful postures
- Forceful exertions
Stressful postures include bending or twisting. Repetitive motions could include frequent lifting or reaching. Forceful exertions include lifting heavy loads.
First and foremost, identify the ergonomic risks in your company. From there, place control measures and place to limit exposure.
An ergonomically designed workplace should consider all task requirements. Think about the capabilities of your workforce to reduce fatigue and discomfort.
2. Encourage Proper Body Mechanics
It’s imperative that your workers use their bodies properly. More so when using material handling solutions. This will ultimately promote productivity and improve work processes.
Your workers should follow every guideline when it comes to carrying heavy loads. Whenever possible, it’s important for you to convert carrying to push or pull tasks by using carts. This will reduce the overall strain for the workers.
Even better, it’ll increase the number of items they can ferry per trip. You should also provide material handling equipment where applicable. Your workers don’t have to strain so much physically.
3. Ensure Proper Employee Training
Training is one of the most important aspects of material handling. If there’s one way to prevent workplace accidents, this is it.
Modern material handling equipment should be handled by trained operators. This will help you reduce or prevent material handling equipment-related accidents.
Consider hiring certified employees. Alternatively, offer all the necessary training for your existing employees.
Training should include understanding material handling hazards and avoiding them. It should include knowing how various material handling systems work.
Your employees should understand the operation and maintenance of material handling equipment. Additionally, they should possess proper storage skills. Storage skills include proper storing, order picking, sorting, loading, and unloading.
4. Provide the Latest Protective and Safety Gear
Personal protective equipment can significantly reduce the risk of workplace injuries. For this reason alone, make sure all your workers are provided for. Your protective gear will highly depend on what kind of industry you’re in.
They should be able to protect employees from physical, biological, and chemical harm. The protective gear should include everything from headgear to face gear. Think about things like helmets, hard hats, gas masks, respirators, and face shields.
Consider safety goggles, earmuffs, safety gloves, safety boots, or safety vests. Opt for full bodysuits if you’re working with hazardous materials. These could spill and cause burns, radiation, or varying temperatures.
Make sure the protective gear meets your local, state, and federal requirements. This, of course, depends on your kind of business. Safety gear should fit your workers properly, so try to order things in different sizes.
Beyond that, make sure your employees are trained to use safety gear properly. Explain all limitations and what should be done in case of emergencies. Moreover, you need an emergency response plan as well.
5. Make Sure You Conduct Pre Shift Inspections
Pre-shift inspections are critical. You see, they could help identify safety issues that can cause problems. Before each shift, have a professional conduct a visual inspection.
Check both the workplace and the manual handling equipment. There are so many things you should be looking for. Think about cracked hoses, faulty or worn-out wiring, and rusty metal components.
These should be repaired by a professional. When left unchecked, they could result in fatal accidents, so catch them early. Beyond that, replace whatever is to worn out for repairs.
6. Don’t Allow Employee Fatigue
You may already have an ergonomically designed workplace. Still, material handling employees are bound to feel fatigued at some point. Sometimes even the simplest handling processes can have a toll on employee health.
This is most prevalent in repetitive tasks. It’s imperative to have a standardized reporting system in your company. It’ll help you identify fatigued workers to avoid escalating problems.
Moreover, you should encourage your workers to go to report health issues or fatigue. Have them checked out immediately to prevent escalating injuries. You’ll ultimately avoid costly medical treatments and considerable downtime.
7. Use Proper Material Handling Equipment
Choosing proper material handling equipment is critical in any line of business. Use modern material handling equipment to make tasks safer, easier, and quicker. Always make sure that this equipment is in proper condition at all times.
The material handling equipment should also be ergonomic. This will ensure workers are safe and eliminate musculoskeletal problems. Utilize workplace tools such as conveyor belts, weighing scales, and carts.
It’ll improve safety and simplify loading and unloading. Some of your equipment should also be automated in order to handle the most repetitive task.
Material Handling Safety: Everything You Should Do to Ensure Maximum Safety
These are some of the most important material handling safety tips. Ensure that all your employees are aware of these tips. They should also know all OSHA guidelines to ensure maximum safety and protection.
Are you currently looking for the best material handling equipment and solutions? Kindly send us a message, and we’ll be more than glad to sort you out.