Material Handling Safety

Material Handling

Think Before Lifting

  • Have a handling plan that allows for good (non-slippery) contact point with the material being lifted and includes a destination.
  • Test the load to ensure that it can be safely carried.  Know the limits! If the load is too heavy, awkward or bulky to carry alone, get help. (Rule of thumb – if it’s greater than 50Lbs – you need more than one person!)
  • Use machinery or equipment, such as pushcarts, hand truck, wheelbarrow, forklift or hoist.

Guidelines for safe lifting:

  • Get a good grip. Grasp the load firmly. Use gloves if they allow for a better grip.
  • Get a good footing. Center body weight to provide good balance.
  • Keep the material close to your body when carrying. Grasp the load firmly and lift towards the belt buckle. Hold the load close to the body to avoid putting pressure on the back.
  • Lift smoothly. Raise, carry and lower the load smoothly. Never jerk a load.
  • Avoid twisting. If turning is required while lifting or carrying a load, turn the feet and body instead of twisting the back.
  • Always push rather than pull the load.

Review the Following Points:

  • Overexertion is the leading cause of work related injuries in the United States, mainly due to improper lifting, pushing or pulling materials.
  • Think and plan before lifting.
  • Push rather than pull the load.
  • Use mechanical means whenever possible.
  • Avoid twisting when lifting or setting down a load. Turn the body instead of twisting the back.