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Manual and Mechanical Material Handling

Material handling

What is safe and effective material handing?

For most manufacturing and agriculture facilities, moving items from one area to the next is a part of the job. When you think of what material handling is, we include lifting, carrying, or moving materials, articles or things.

A lot of this is used via mechanical handling equipment like lift trucks, conveyors, cranes or hoists.

Safety hazards surrounding material handling

Material handling operations are carried out in most workplaces either with the use of physical might only, or where heavier or awkward materials are handled using motorized or non-motorized lifting equipment. There are many areas of your business where potential hazards can arise. Some of these hazards could include:

  • Obstruction on warehouse floors interfering with safe movement of materials;
  • Unsafe material lifting, carrying and moving;
  • Improperly securing vehicles (tipping or falling machinery)
  • Unsafe loading and unloading procedures
  • Unsafe storage of material, items and articles
  • Lack of examination of lifting devices
  • Wheel chocking not used
  • Work surface hazards
  • Pinch point hazards

Each handling task poses unique demands on your worker. Performing tasks safely, keeps you in compliance, and allows your business to run smoothly.

What you can do

Having a material handling program or system in place can help your business perform at its optimal level. Hazards associated with material handling, either by manual or mechanical means considering the following:

  • The load
  • The task
  • The operator
  • The environment

Putting it all together

Evaluate the risk factors associated with material handling and implement control measures to eliminate or reduce the potential for injuries or damages to equipment and facilities.

The best control measure is to eliminate potential hazards needed to perform manual handling tasks.

Keeping your people first

Design manual handling tasks so that they are within the workers' capabilities. Think about the load itself, the design of the workstation and work practices. Providing mechanical handling devices or aids to any of these areas can help eliminate the task itself or ease the demands on the worker. Not sure where to start, WSPS can help.

Ready to get started?

As a business owner, a comprehensive and thought out policy or program can create a more productive workplace for everyone in your community. You have the power to make a difference. For information and assistance, connect with us regarding WSPS' consulting services at customercare@wsps.ca.