For any logistics and manufacturing project, material handling is one of the fundamental requirements. The process of material handling involves the movement of material inside the workplace, or between the transportation vehicle and the workplace by using manual, automated, and semi-automated equipment. Thus, in every warehouse, retail store, and manufacturing plants, material handling plays a vital role.
Material handling is a risky task, particularly using the manual equipment. During lifting, carrying and pushing, operating employees may get injuries which result in additional medical costs, a decline in productivity and hurting the employee’s confidence. Therefore, it is necessary that the company take every possible preventive measure to avoid any accident related to material handling.
Read the following safety tips to minimize material handling injuries and make the process safer.
1. Use of Protective Equipment
One way to protect operating employees during material handling is by providing them with personal protective equipment. It is common that workers get injured while moving materials, but this risk can be minimized to some degree by offering them some kind of protection, such as helmets, gloves, eye protection, steel-toed safety boots, etc.
2. Equipment Upgradation
The kind of equipment you use not only impacts the safety of your employees but also affects your company’s productivity and profitability. By using advanced equipment you can minimize manual material handling risks. Instead of moving material manually, it is better to make use of conveyor belts and forklift.
3. Control Noise
In most factories and manufacturing plants, it is common to find noise and vibration problem which adversely impacts employees’ hearing and leads to irritation and fatigue. To control vibration and noise in the work environment, the company should consider using equipment which can help in reducing noise and vibration problem, like introducing wheel materials, shock-dampening casters and softer wheels to reduce noise and g-forces on a wheeled cart.
4. Check for Ergonomic Risk Factors
In most case when material handling is done manually, employees experience excess physical fatigue which leads to injuries. This is known as ergonomic risk factors. When employees have to do frequent heavy lifting, and exertion work, it often leads to accidents. The organization, therefore, need to spot and control all such ergonomic risk factor to protect employees from risks and accidents.
5. Take note of your Employees’ health
Any sign of physical exhaustion and fatigue on part of employees must not go unnoticed. Accident risks are much higher in manual material handling tasks. Apart from these risks, the daily manual work impacts the overall health of the workers. Therefore, if your employees report any signs of fatigue, it is must on your part to take the necessary measures to prevent any serious problem.
6. Right Equipment to make the process safer
The type of equipment you choose makes all the difference. Using the right equipment is recommended not only to make the process faster and efficient but also to make it safer. There are many drawbacks of manual material handling, such as making the process risky, time-consuming and laborious. Numerous types of material handling equipment are available, like shelves, racks, and pallets for storage and trucks, silos, drums, and grain elevators, for handling bulk materials. For handling heavy loads, conveyor belt systems are the best option. Therefore, efficient material handling helps in streamlining your operation, increasing productivity, as well as, providing a safe working environment.