Material Handling Safety – Helping To Prevent Warehouse Accidents

Material Handling Safety

One of the biggest challenges a warehouse facility manager faces, along with overall operations management, centers around material handling and storage safety. Managers need to be fully aware and appreciate the importance of controlling potential hazards associated with the handling and storage of material. Most notably, managers must be held accountable for the proper training of employees in all aspects involving their actions and interactions in the warehouse.

A formal training program to give employees the education needed to identify and avoid potential safety hazards in the warehouse should be implemented by all facilities. Instructors should be specifically trained in areas of safety engineering, and the material handling process, focussed on reducing overall workplace accidents.

In the material handling industry, the concept of safety is multi-faceted. Not only does it involve the lifting of materials safely, but the transportation of the load is equally important. Therefore, a training program must be a comprehensive set of principles that address the overall safety involving every aspect of product movement throughout the warehouse.

Basic Employee Hazard & Safety Training

Lifting and carrying material

Your training program should start out with the proper way to lift and carry items. One of the most common warehouse injuries results from the lack of understanding and proper lifting techniques, that can eventually become an injury over time, or straining on a particularly heavy load. It is essential that your employee gain the following knowledge on lifting material:

    • First and foremost, provide facts for the dangers of lifting without proper training to begin with.
    • Discuss how improper lifting can become an overall health risk.
    • Instruction in techniques proven and shown to minimize the stress and strain on the body.
    • Demonstration and practice of safe lifting postures for minimum exertion.
    • Discuss different types of warning signals or body responses to be aware of when lifting material.
    • Explore different, potential risks that can be encountered, and how best to minimize the hazards.
    • Instructing employees on how to operate or use equipment if provided, such as back braces, gloves, or other warehouse safety items.
    • Provide a groundwork for the basic structure of the body, spine, and muscles involved in lifting. This gives the employee a better idea of how carrying loads can affect different parts of their body.

Material transportation and movement through the warehouse

While a thorough knowledge of lifting and handling heavy material or equipment is the centerpiece of any employee warehouse training program, the process of moving, handling, and storing materials is unique to your own facility. However, when moving the material is done by employee, the same principles hold true when protecting themselves from injury or strain. When possible, handles or holders should be attached to loads to assist with movement, along with the proper supplies and protective gear to help prevent injury from the load itself. Proper stacking procedures should be strictly adhered to in order to mitigate risk of falling items or other harmful possibilities.

Unique to your facility are other distribution systems such as conveyors that could pose a threat of injury. A thorough run through on every aspect of conveyor systems should then be implemented into your safety course protocol, in order to demonstrate full awareness of potential hazards involving large equipment. Employees should be thoroughly trained on emergency shutdown processes on all material handling equipment within the warehouse, and a strict adherence to employee obedience.

For more information on best practices and tips for warehouse safety, please see the article talking about topics involving OSHA guidelines. Warehouse Safety Tips.

At Culver Equipment, we offer strategic planning of warehouse design, and supply a full line of products including safety equipment, along with experienced consulting on warehouse layout and logistics. Talk to one of our professionals today if you have concerns or questions about your facility’s layout in terms of promoting safety.

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