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How Can Employees Remain Safe When Using Material Handling Equipment?

Employees should exercise caution when using mechanical equipment to transport, lift, and store stuff, as it can lead to occupational injuries. According to OSHA, this means: “Employees should avoid overloading equipment when moving materials mechanically by letting the weight, size, and shape of the material being moved dictate the type of equipment used.”

Material Handling Equipment (MHE) is crucial in many industries, including manufacturing, construction, and warehousing. These tools are designed to make moving materials easier and faster, but they also pose significant risks to employees if not used correctly. Safety is, therefore, a top priority in any workplace that utilizes MHE, and employees need to remain vigilant to prevent accidents and injuries.

Common Hazards and Risks in MHE Operations

Equipment operations come with inherent risks and hazards that can cause severe injuries and damage to property. Take steps to identify and manage these risks to ensure the safety and health of employees and to prevent any accidents:

  • Physical Hazards: Collisions, falling objects, and entanglements.
  • Environmental Hazards: Temperature extremes, hazardous materials, and poor lighting.
  • Ergonomic Hazards: Musculoskeletal disorders from poor posture, heavy lifting, and repetitive motions. Psychosocial Hazards: Workplace conditions that cause psychological harm or stress.

Best Practices for Safe Operations

Best Practices for Safe Operations

Employees can minimize the risk of accidents and injuries when operating Material Handling Equipment. Moreover, employers should prioritize safety in the workplace by providing the necessary training, equipment, and procedures to ensure a safe working environment for all employees. Safe operations can be achieved by following these best practices:

  • Proper Training and Certification - Employees should receive thorough training on the specific equipment they will be operating, including proper operation, safety procedures, and emergency protocols. Certification should be provided to ensure that employees have demonstrated proficiency in operating the equipment safely.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - Everyone must wear the appropriate PPE for the job, including hard hats, safety glasses, ear protection, and steel-toed boots. Employers should provide employees with the necessary PPE and ensure that it is in good condition.
  • Equipment Inspection and Maintenance - Employers should develop and implement a maintenance program that includes regular inspections, repairs, and replacements of equipment as needed. Any equipment that is found to be defective or in need of repair should be immediately removed from service.
  • Safe Work Procedures - These procedures should include pre-operation checks, safe loading and unloading practices, and safe travel procedures. Employees should be trained on these procedures and follow them at all times.
  • Clear Communication and Signage - Ensure that employees are aware of any hazards and that all signage is clear and easily visible. Communication channels should also be established to allow for easy reporting of any safety concerns or hazards.
  • Safe Work Environment - Maintain a clean and organized work environment, free of any unnecessary obstacles or hazards. Additionally, proper lighting, ventilation, and temperature control should be maintained to ensure employee safety and comfort.

To stay safe when using MHE, employees should stay focused, use proper lifting techniques, follow safe work procedures, and report any safety concerns to their supervisors. By working together to create a safe working environment, employers and employees can prevent accidents and injuries from occurring.

Ensure Complete Safety in Your Workplace

With over a century of combined experience, South East Rigging has always been dedicated to offering the most excellent service, quality, and price. We take great pride in being a reputable industry leader in lifting and rigging goods.

Our skilled instructors will visit your location to instruct your staff on how to use equipment properly. This course will be delivered at our location as well. Our expert inspection team will also examine your lifting products to make sure they are well-maintained and secure for the intended application. 

Contact us today for more information on our products and services.

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